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Blooms and Brushstrokes: A floral history of Australian art

Blooms and Brushstrokes. Photo: supplied View larger


Penelope Curtin and Tansy Curtin

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'Blooms and Brushstrokes' takes you on a unique journey through the history of Australian art, one flower at a time, examining the blooms depicted in still life images, floral portraits, decorative interiors and botanical illustrations by a long line of Australian artists. Mother and daughter team Penelope and Tansy Curtin start this fascinating journey in the late eighteenth century, when the traditions adhering to the Western art canon were transplanted into the newly colonised Australia. They follow it through the rapidly developing artistic styles of the early twentieth century, to the new media of the contemporary period.

These works of art also shine a light on the role and importance of plants and flowers in everyday life. They illustrate changing floral fashions, as well as highlighting flowers in their various forms - cut flowers, pot plants and gardens. Along the way you'll encounter many of Australia's most significant artists, including John Glover, Arthur Streeton, Margaret Preston, Grace Cossington Smith, John Brack and Margaret Olley, as well as some of Australia's most beautiful and sometimes intriguing native flora, such as the waratah and Sturt's desert pea, not to mention perennial garden favourites like roses, sweet peas and daisies.

Spectacular, intimate, engaging and meticulously researched and full of interesting and quirky facts about the flowers and the artists themselves, 'Blooms and Brushstrokes' is a book for art, flower and history lovers alike.

Praise for 'Blooms and Brushstrokes'

''Blooms and Brushstrokes' is a magnificent celebration of the rich tradition of floral art in Australia.' - Simon Caterson, Weekend Australian

''Blooms and Brushstrokes' is spectacular, meticulously researched and full of interesting and quirky facts about the flowers and the artists themselves.' - Readings

''Blooms and Brushstrokes' is an important contribution to the world of flowers and the world of art - it is simultaneously a poetic history of flowers in Australian gardens; it is flowers in a suite of pictures; and thirdly it effectively narrates a history of Australian art itself, with the independent story of styles and influences and reflections on social changes... Brilliant, because it works for those who do not know their flowers but enormously well for those who do, because they recognise how their knowledge ends up in art. For these reasons the importance of the book is hard to overstate.' - Robert Nelson, art critic, Age

About the Authors:
Penelope Curtin is a freelance editor who works mainly in the area of art publications. Her great loves in life have been the gardens she has established and Edwin, Alice, Rupert and Rosey, some of whom are grandchildren, the others Italian Greyhounds.

Tansy Curtin is the Curatorial Manager at Bendigo Art Gallery. She holds a Masters in Art History from the University of Adelaide. Tansy inherited the gardening gene from her mother, although she also loves growing edible plants.


ISBN 9781743056493
Publisher Wakefield Press
Published 2019
Format Hardback
Number of pages 216
Dimensions H 27.5cm x W 22cm

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