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Despite being heralded as a visionary of Australian art, Clarice Beckett led a small life. She never married, caring for her invalid mother in the Bayside suburb of Beaumaris before her premature death at age forty-eight. Posthumously, her father destroyed 200 of her works that he considered unfinished or “not good enough”. The remaining 2000 were stored in an open-sided shed near Benalla, only to be discovered decades later; by then only 379 were salvageable, the rest laid to rest by bad weather and possums. For critic John McDonald, this was “among the great disasters of Australian art history”.
Indeed, Beckett’s work represents some of the most poignant in Australia’s art canon. Favouring early morning and evening, she painted Melbourne’s suburbs as though they contained a universe of meaning. Works like ‘Yellow Leaves, Alexandra Parade’ are hazy and immediate – a reflection of how it feels to succumb to one’s senses. While aesthetically minimal, a metaphysical dimension lingers, a quiet depth of feeling that is nothing short of miraculous.
In 2021, the Art Gallery of South Australia held a major retrospective of Beckett’s work. McDonald visited three times, irrevocably moved. He wrote that if the same exhibition was at the Tate Modern or the Museum of Modern Art, Beckett would be “hailed as a figure of world renown”. If only it wasn’t for her family disapproval. What her work teaches however, in its assiduous reverence of the everyday, is that dignity exists even in the smallest lives. She caught the eternal in the temporal.
For collectors of important Modernist and female artists, Beckett is a gift. You can read more about Clarice Beckett here in our article An Almost Forgotten Visionary'Yellow Leaves, Alexandra Avenue' was commissioned by Rosalind Hollinrake and arts writer Nadine Amadio as a commemorative project, allowing collectors an accessible way to live alongside Beckett's imagery. It was published and endorsed by Beckett's estate, Clarice Beckett Images, and screenprinted by master-printmaker Michelle Perry at Marnling Press.
Clarice BECKETT (1887 - 1935)'Yellow Leaves, Alexandra Avenue'screenprint on paperEdition of 75Image Size: 44 x 60 cm Dimensions: 56 x 76 cm Titled and editioned below image; embossed with Clarice Beckett Images seal.Comes with Letter of ProvenancePublished by Clarice Beckett Images and printed by Michelle Perry at Marnling Press; conceived by Nadine Amadio. Printed on 250 gsm Velin Arches paper.
Condition: Very Good
© The Artist or Assignee
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