O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith
Making Modernism

11 Mar 2017 – 11 Jun 2017
QAG | Gallery 4 | Ticketed

'O'Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism' showcases the iconic art of Georgia O'Keeffe, one of the most significant American painters of the twentieth century, alongside modernist masterpieces by the celebrated and pioneering Australian artists, Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington Smith.

Born in the late nineteenth century, the three painters came of age during the 1910s and '20s, decades of great social and cultural transition. While they were not connected by personal familiarity or direct correspondence, they were kindred spirits, rejecting the artistic conventions of the past and forging new ways of picturing the changing world.

United by their love of nature, O'Keeffe, Preston and Cossington Smith developed subjects from their immediate surroundings into distinct interpretations of place. O'Keeffe synthesised the forms and lines of the New Mexico high desert to share her experience of its vast and ancient landscape, while Preston articulated the primordial character of the native environment in her pursuit of a uniquely Australian aesthetic. Cossington Smith painted glowing and intimate landscapes based on views within easy reach of her semi-rural home in Sydney's outer suburbs.

Each artist transformed the traditional still life into a pictorial vehicle more relevant to the modern age. Whereas O'Keeffe filled her compositions from edge to edge with magnified and abstracted blooms, Preston looked to the structural possibilities of her floral motifs, focusing on design and pattern. Cossington Smith preferred to paint her plants and blossoms as they grew in situ, lending her images a sense of living energy.

'Making Modernism' draws together around thirty works by each artist from the breadth of their careers and is presented in partnership with the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe; Heide Museum of Modern Art and the Art Gallery of New South Wales and supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Gordon Darling Foundation.

This exhibition includes works that are protected under the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act 2013. For further information.

Please note:
Photography is not permitted inside the exhibition space.
Large-print booklets of wall and artwork labels are available from the Ticket Desk on request.

Georgia O'Keeffe, USA 1887–1986 / Petunia No. 2 1924 / Oil on canvas / 91.4 x 76.2 cm / Gift of The Burnett Foundation and Gerald and Kathleen Peters / Collection: Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

Georgia O'Keeffe, USA 1887–1986 / Blue Line 1919 / Oil on canvas / 51.1 x 43.5 cm / Gift of The Burnett Foundation / Collection: Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

Margaret Preston, Australia 1875–1963 / Implement blue 1927 / Oil on canvas on hardboard / 42.5 x 43 cm / Gift of the artist 1960 / Collection: Art Gallery of New South Wales / © Margaret Rose Preston Estate, licensed by Viscopy, Sydney.

Grace Cossington Smith, Australia 1892–1984 / Landscape at Pentecost 1929 / Oil on paperboard / 83.7 x 111.8 cm / South Australian Government Grant 1981 / Collection: Art Gallery of South Australia / © Estate of Grace Cossington Smith.

Ticket Prices


Adult $18
Concession* $16
Child (5–12 years. Under 5 free) $8
Member^ $14
Family (2 adults + up to 3 children 5–12 years) $44


Adult $54
Concession* $48
Child (5–12 years) $24
Member^ $42 


Purchase tickets in advance online or at the exhibition ticket desk until 4.00pm during the exhibition period.

Season Pass: Unlimited entry during the exhibition period

*Valid pensioner, seniors or full-time student card required
Concession applies to: State and regional Gallery Guides - Association of Australian Gallery Guiding Organisations (AAGGO); Full Time Australian Tertiary and TAFE Students; Full Time International Tertiary and TAFE Students with ISIC card and individual institution cards; Secondary Students aged 13 and over; Queensland Government Seniors Card Holders Card Holders – Department of Human Services/Commonwealth Seniors Health Card /Health Care Card; Department of Veteran Affairs/Repatriation Health Card (Gold and White); Foster Carer/Department of Families Card Holders; National Association of the Visual Arts Members (NAVA); Museums Australia Membership Card
^Valid QAGOMA Member or Foundation Card required