|We Afternoon, 1929 linocut|
I’m a big fan of Ethel Spowers. I remember seeing a number of her linocuts in 2000 at the Modern Australian Women exhibition at the SH Erwin Gallery at Observatory Hill and loving the movement and humour in her work. Last year, at a well known auction house, I saw the little umbrella print wishing it was on my wall, but alas, her prints sell for many tens of thousands of dollars. Presently, there are a number of Ethel Spowers linocuts at the Sydney Moderns exhibition t the Art Gallery of NSW and they are well worth a look.
Ethel Spowers was born in Melbourne in 1890. She grew up in a wealthy family which allowed her to pursue her interest in art. As an adult she lived in the family mansion with a studio above the stables. She studied in Melbourne as well as in London and Paris. It was after studying with Claude Flight at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art in London in 1929 the Ethel began the work which then attracted critical attention and for what she is known today. In the 1930’s Ethel’s linocuts were based on bold simplified forms and a rhythmic sense of movement. I love the humour in her observation of the everyday.