Lina Bryans-Portrait of Jean Campbell, c.1950,oil on canvas on composition board, 122.5 x 102.5cm
Lina Bryans-beautiful, generous and unconventional-was a significant and influential artist of the modernist movement in Australia. She was a superb colourist, in the tradition of Matisse and the School of Paris artists. Her landscapes and
still-lifes are best known, and a new generation is finding her many portraits particularly compelling. These portraits are mostly of her friends, and they capture moments of intuitive and private exchange between artist and sitter.
Gillian Forwood convincingly argues that while Lina Bryans was less well known than the Reeds at Heide, she too was an important nurturer of creative talent. She gave sustained practical and emotional support to the reclusive Ian Fairweather, among others, and she warmly befriended older nationalists like Vance and Nettie Palmer and Alan Marshall.
Upheavals followed-she moved to the country and back again; relationships flourished and foundered. But her commitment to art and friendship and stylish hospitality was indomitable. Always modern and international in her outlook, Bryans' life of artistic liberalism reflected the ideal of 'the artist in society'. In the idiom of her day she was a New Woman, a free spirit.
This lavishly illustrated book explores Lina Bryans' generous role in Australian art, and reveals the full range of her friendships and influence.
Text: Niagara galleries