Iain Macnab 'Nude' - collected by Ian

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Though Iain Macnab worked as a prolific printmaker and painter throughout his life, perhaps his most significant achievement was founding the radical Grosvenor School of Modern Art in London in 1925. Many significant printmakers studied under Macnab during the interwar period — among them a cohort of Australian artists including Peter Purves Smith, an early proponent of Surrealism in Australia, as well as major female printmakers Dorrit Black, Ethel Spowers, and Eveline Syme, and the modernist George Bell.

Macnab’s classes were taught from his own house, bringing together creatives working in wood engraving, modern dance and traditional art. Under his guidance, a generation of artists drastically transformed their style, finding a groundbreaking new visual language made up of dynamic, modern forms. Many would bring their revelations back to Australia to inspire the following generation.

In this lithograph, Macnab figures an athletic female nude, arranged vertically with a weightlessness that seems more machine than human. The human form is reduced down to a finely arranged sequence of bold strokes that echo Futurist sculptures of the early twentieth century, as well as the Art Deco forms that dominated avant garde design during the 1920s. Art critic Christopher Heathcote described this “impressive lithograph” as one of one of the visual highpoints during its inclusion in an exhibition at Eastgate Gallery in 1991. In Macnab’s rendering, the most traditional of genres - the female nude - is transformed into a dynamic representation of modernity.

Iain Macnab’s experimental approach to composition was hugely influential during his life. Today his work is represented in the collections of the National Galleries in Scotland, London’s V&A Museum, and the National Gallery of Victoria among others.

Macnab’s lithographs rarely appear on the market, and this work is in excellent condition. ‘Nude’ would suit collectors interested in figure studies, modernism, or the George Bell circle of artists. It would also be a welcome addition on the walls of both contemporary and period homes.

Iain MACNAB (1890 - 1967)
'Nude' 1930s
lithograph on paper
Edition of 50
Image Size: 48 x 24 cm
Dimensions: 79 x 59 x 4 cm
Signed: Signed, numbered and inscribed lower right in pencil: 23/50/To my friend Cathy Bell/Iain MacNab
Comes with Letter of Provenance

Works on Paper, Eastgate Gallery Melbourne 1991

Condition is Very Good: Describes a work of art's image as Excellent, but may show some small signs of surrounding wear to paper or frame. There are no tears to paper margin or disruption to the paint surface.

(c) The Artist or Assignee