Anne Hall 'Garden Birth' - Sold to Hugh

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Anne Hall’s ‘Garden Birth’ is a scene of hallucinatory abundance. An infant sits beside a clump of cabbages, recalling the 1980s hit toy Cabbage Patch Kids. Painted in 1968 however, thirteen years before the doll’s debut, any connection between the two is make believe.

Yet, there remains an echo of Hall in the dolls' origin story. Cabbage Patch Kids were launched in 1981 by Xavier Roberts, who stole their exact design from Kentucky folk artist Martha Nelson Thomas's soft sculptures  expressions of maternal longing. Her pseudo-children were not to be commodified or copyrighted, leaving them prone for Roberts’s theft.

Like Martha, Hall was an outsider. She was talented but due to personal and socio-cultural reasons, kept at bay from institutionalised acknowledgement. Wife to famed artist John Perceval, she helped complete his major work ‘Veronica and the Conspirators’, offering in art historian Margaret Plant’s evaluation paint more “urgent, raised up more thickly, more lurid and hectic than in any other Perceval painting.”

Hall’s work is a subversion of the domestic ideal. This vegetable patch is nebulous, the baby alienesque. Despite the surrounding nature, ‘Garden Birth' feels unnatural. Art history is peppered with women like Martha and Hall, innovators deemed too unconventional for mainstream success, their talent exploited by the men in their lives. What is natural about womanhood and what is man-made?

Now, collected by the National Gallery of Victoria and Heide Museum of Modern Art, Hall is finally finding the recognition she deserves. Discover her fascinating story through 'Garden Birth'. 

Anne HALL (1945 - )
'Garden Birth' 1968
oil on board
Image Size: 80 x 104 cm
Dimensions: 84 x 108 x 5 cm 
Signed: Signed lower right 'Anne Hall '68'

Condition: Very Good

© The Artist or Assignee