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Dorrit Black

BLACKdorrit_InTheFoothills-for-web.jpg

Dorrit Black | Australia 1891–1951 | In the foothills 1942 | Oil on canvas board | 45.6 x 61.5cm (sight) | Purchased 2009 with funds derived from the Bequest of Grace Davies and Nell Davies through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation

Dorrit Black In The Foothills 1942
Dorrit Black
Australia 1891–1951
In the foothills 1942
Oil on canvas board
Purchased 2009 with funds derived from the Bequest of Grace Davies and Nell Davies through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation

Dorrit Black

In the foothills 1942

In the foothills was painted during the Second World War, when Dorrit Black turned to the landscape as a favoured subject, perhaps due the restriction on her freedom to travel to Sydney and the protection from the war provided by the isolation of Adelaide. At the time she painted it, Black was living in Magill, a suburb nestled in the shadow of the Adelaide foothills not far from her childhood home, and its gentle rolling landscape was her inspiration.

Despite its traditional subject matter, In the foothills is a radical painting. The unusually elevated viewpoint, the lack of a conventional foreground and the boldly rendered outlines of the hills emphasises their treatment as mass and form. The elevated position of the viewer prefigures a series of linocuts made by the artist in the late 1940s on the subject of air travel over landscapes depicted as flat patterns.

According to Ian North, the author of Black’s catalogue raisonné and the recognised authority on her work, In the foothills dramatically demonstrates that the style of Black’s late 1930s watercolours had matured into a stronger, more simplified approach, while the use of bold lines, recalling her French mentors André Lhote and Albert Gleizes, is closely tied to defining natural forms.