Crace Crowley and Ralph Balson

National Gallery of Victoria exhibition visit

On exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) till 22 Sept 2024 is a beautifully curated exhibition of two fantastic painters who were pivotal in the development of  Australian abstract art. This is a must see – even for those of us who are photographers.
My rating for this exhibition is 5 stars (out of 5).

For a short introduction read the NGV web page on this exhibition.  There’s not a lot more offered by the NGV and there is no catalogue. The exhibition information on the walls is very informative -and worth stopping to read. There is no artspeak! (thank you curators)

The Queensland Art Gallery has a good essay on these artists on their web site – definitely worth the read.

I came to this exhibition with some knowledge of Grace Cowley’s work and very little of Ralph Balson’s. It was more a curiousity that took me to the train to travel into the NGV to spend some time with the exhibition.

I was totally taken aback. Grace Crowley is one of those great women Australian artists who needs to be celebrated even more! There have been previous exhibition of both Grace and her friend Ralph Balson but this one is a stunner!

Many of the works have been borrowed. The curatorial story and the selections make a strong impact. This a major exhibition.  I am not saying I loved it all. But there are many I would take home.

Even if you know some of most of these paintings, or even if you have seen other Grace Crowley and Ralph Balson exhibitions, this exhibition is worth effort and time to ponder – and it is free.













Here’s a little story told told on one of the panels. Grace had submitted to the Archibald (portrait Prize) in 1930 with a fabulous portrait – in the ‘new’ style.

I can assure you that it looks so much better in reality. Beautiful!!

But the winner was an establishment artist – who won with the following.

Enough said.

I urge you to get yourself to the NGV soon – or at least before mid September, to spend time with the works of these two artists.

Congrats again to the curators – well done


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