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Dorothy Davis, A feeling of SpringTitle
A Feeling of Spring

Location
In storage

Place of origin
New South Wales, Australia

Media
Painting

Medium
Acrylic

Credit
Winner Calleen Award 1986

Accession number
CAL1986

Excerpt from The Calleen Collection by Peter Haynes (2019)

As with many of the early winners of the Calleen Prize references to them do not appear in any of the available major art references. What we do know is that a Dorothy Davies was born in Melbourne in 1920 and that she practised as artist and teacher in Victoria and New South Wales. At the time of her winning submission she was listed as living at North Rocks in New South Wales. In 1988 Davies was the judge for the Calleen Prize and she is listed in the brochure as being an Associate of the Royal Art Society, one of Australia’s oldest art groups, based in North Sydney since 1880.

A Feeling of Spring is delightfully vivacious picture. Davies nicely captures the glories of spring blossoms in full bloom. The spindly trunks and branches of the trees seem barely able to support the profusion of colourful blooms that sit atop them. The graphic presence of the trunks is repeated in their shadows delineated on the green ground of the paddock. Their blackness is reminiscent of Japanese prints so important in the development of early Modernism in the latter part of the 19th-Century. Also present here is the sinuous curving characteristic of the Art Nouveau period especially as seen in France. While not wishing to place too many august progenitors onto this work it is not possible to ignore the example of the English Aesthetic period and much of Australia’s own Impressionist art. Indeed (some of) the work of Charles Conder during his period in Australia is particularly moot. All this aside the pictorial lushness and tonal fulsomeness of this work allied with the artist’s spatial and compositional understanding is very appealing.