The Power Institute Foundation for Art and Visual Culture

J.W. Power: Abstraction-Creation Paris 1934 (eBook)


By A.D.S. Donaldson & Ann Stephen, with texts by Gladys Fabre and Virginia Spate

A long forgotten 1934 exhibition by the Australian expatriate J.W Power at the Abstraction-Création gallery in Paris provides the key to understanding this most elusive artist. In J.W. Power: Abstraction-Creation Paris 1934, editors Ann Stephen and A.D.S. Donaldson argue that Power is Australia’s most important avant-gardist of the early twentieth century. In the interwar years, Power moved between cities, immersing himself in both contemporary and historical art, this restlessness leading to his own unique painting: part- abstract surrealism, part-surreal abstraction.

His most significant contribution however was made in Paris. There he studied with Pedro Araujo and Fernand Léger and showed with Léonce Rosenberg and Galerie Jeanne Bucher. Crucially, he was a founding and long- term member of Abstraction-Création. In her essay, published in English here for the first time, art historian Gladys Fabre describes how this group was the focus for the international avant-garde moving through Paris in the 1930s. Virginia Spate examines Power’s creative process through the analysis of a single painting. J.W. Power Abstraction-Création reveals how Power’s work illuminates the relationships between Sydney and Paris, and between France and Australia, an exchange that goes to the heart of Australia’s modernism.

About the Editors and Contributors                                  

A.D.S. Donaldson is an artist, curator and art historian. He lectures in the painting department at the National Art School, Sydney and studied at the University of Sydney, the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen.

Ann Stephen is an art historian and senior curator of the University Art Gallery at the University of Sydney. Her books include: On Looking At Looking: The Art and Politics of Ian Burn (2006); and Modern Times: The Untold Story of Modernism in Australia (2008), co-edited with Andrew McNamara and Philip Goad.

Gladys Fabre is an art historian and curator. Her exhibitions include Léger et L’Esprit l’art Non-objectif 1918-1931 (1982), Abstraction-création 1931-1936 (1978), and Van Doesburg & the International Avant-Garde: Constructing a New World (2009).

Virginia Spate is emeritus professor of art history at Sydney University. Her books include The Colour of Time: Claude Monet, winner of the Mitchell Prize for Art History in 1993; and Orphism: The Evolution of Non-figurative Painting in Paris 1910-1914.

100 colour images.

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