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Margaret Preston

Elizabeth Butel
ETT Imprint, 100pp
ISBN 1-875892-76-1
$19.95, June 2003

mpbooks1Margaret Preston, Australia’s foremost woman painter between the wars, sent a series of shock-waves through Australian art circles with her vital art, her spirited journalism and her belligerent enthusiasm for living, during a career that spanned over 70 years.

Elizabeth Butel traces Preston’s struggle for artistic and financial independence, as well as her travels throughout the world and Aboriginal Australia in search of inspiration for her art. Butel presents many of Preston’s lively theories – in particular her advocacy for a national art –and concludes that Preston’s vision is as fresh today as it was in the 1020s.

First published in 1985 in association with the Art Gallery of New South Wales, this monograph has been revised especially for students Australia-wide. Now in its eighth edition, Margaret Preston contains 16 pages of colour reproductions, photographs of the artist, a full bibliography of Preston’s articles, and all source materials relating to this Australian modernist painter.

Elizabeth Butel was for several years Lloyd Rees’ secretary and edited his autobiography Peaks & Valleys (Imprint, 1992), photographer Lewis Morley’s Black and White Lies (Imprint, 1993) and Jan Ruff-O’Herne’s best-selling autobiography 50 Years of Silence (ETT Imprint, 1994), among many other works. Recently she published the social history Hurstville Oval (ETT Imprint, 2002) and edited Margaret Preston’s Art and Australia (Richmond Imprint, 2003).

Mixed Flowers, oil on canvas, 1925