Intrepid Women – Australian women artists in Paris 1900-1950

This summer we celebrate the adventurous spirit of Australian women artists.

The captivating allure of Paris has intrigued Australian artists throughout our history and this exhibition focuses on 30 women who travelled there to study, paint, visit galleries, salons, and artists’ studios. Freed from the conventions of home, they immersed themselves in the rich cultural milieu of Paris.Social changes in the first half of the twentieth century allowed these women to take charge of their destinies and carve careers and, importantly, lives for themselves in a foreign country where they were able to be themselves. Paris was the undisputed centre of the arts at the turn of the century and attracted artists from all over the world. They survived often on very modest funds, and engaged in social gatherings at cafes along the broad avenues of Montparnasse.

They went because they were risk-takers, bold spirits, and very determined. South Australian Marie Tuck worked and saved for ten long years before accumulating adequate funds to allow her to travel and live in Paris. Some exhibited in the Paris Salons and in private galleries on the Left Bank, most studied and many received prizes and accolades. Artists such as Dorrit Black & Grace Crowley bought back to Australia an understanding of modern art witnessed first-hand, but met with opposition to their teachings.

This exhibition will bring to light the works of this group of intrepid women and include works by Christina Asquith Baker, Dorrit Black, Stella Bowen, Ethel Carrick, Evelyn Chapman, Mary Cockburn Mercer, Grace Crowley, Janet Cumbrae Stewart, Anne Dangar, Bessie Davidson, Moya Dyring, Madge Freeman, Bessie Gibson, Vida Lahey, Agnes Goodsir, Anne Alison Greene, Dora Meeson, Alice Muskett, Kathleen O’Connor, Margaret Olley, Ada May Plante, Margaret Preston, Betty Quelhurst, Isobel Rae, Gladys Reynell, Hilda Rix Nicholas, Constance Stokes, Eveline Syme, Jessie Traill & Marie Tuck.

The exhibition will present works from public galleries and private collections across the country.

The S.H. Ervin Gallery gratefully acknowledges the support of the Jolimont Foundation in the presentation of the exhibition.




Art Guide | Tiarney Miekus: 6/12/2017 ‘Intrepid Women Travelling to Paris‘

Daily Telegraph | Elizabeth Fortescue: 7/12/2017 ‘Intrepid Women left home and painted themselves into history‘

Concrete Playground | Lucy McNabb: 5/1/2018 ‘Intrepid Women’


* Image: Moya Dyring Notre Dame c.1950 oil on canvas on cardboard 45 x 37 cm Heide Museum & Art Gallery.

Location Details


National Trust S.H. Ervin Gallery, Watson Road, Millers Point (The Rocks)


Tuesday - Sunday, 11am - 5pm


Mondays & Public Holidays
Closed - Monday 24 December to Tuesday 1 January (inclusive)
Easter - closed Good Friday only

(02) 9258 0173
Entry Fees:

$12.00 - General
$10.00 – Seniors and Concessions
$4.00 – National Trust Members
(children under 12 free)

*Selected exhibitions may incur special prices

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