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Queensland Art Gallery Presents Vida Lahey: Colour and Modernism

The Queensland Art Gallery presents Vida Lahey: Colour and Modernism, open through 13 February 2011.

Vida Lahey (1882–1968) is one of Queensland’s best loved artists, recognised as much for her work in promoting art and art education in Queensland as for her own paintings.

Lahey’s early affinity with colour was inspired at first by European Impressionism, reflected in works such as The carters’ rest, Eagle Street 1913, before the vital colour of Post-Impressionism began to influence her work. The art environment in Brisbane was particularly conservative, making Vida Lahey’s vibrant flower studies highly visible expressions of modernist ideas at the Royal Queensland Art Society’s annual exhibitions. Although floral still lifes were a popular genre throughout Australia at the time, Lahey’s handling of brilliant colour was considered exceptional and her paintings were exhibited in southern states from the 1920s to wide acclaim. She continued to produce these delightful floral studies to the end of her career.

The building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge evoked a response from Lahey that can be seen in her images of the construction of the Grey Street Bridge and of Brisbane City Hall, which opened in 1930. Paintings featuring the high-rise buildings and intense construction activity of the time comprise a focus of the display.

The exhibition is drawn from the Gallery’s own excellent holdings of work by Vida Lahey and supplemented by works on loan from local public and private collections.

Image: Vida Lahey Australia 1882–1968 Calendulas c.1936–37 Gift of Miss Maria Therese Treweeke 1937 Collection: Queensland Art Gallery © Queensland Art Gallery

Queensland Art Gallery Stanley Place, South Bank, Queensland, Australia

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