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Her Own Path

Learn about Bayside's artistic female trailblazers

While women continue to break new ground throughout our modern world, a few remarkable Bayside artists were responsible for blazing the trail in Australia's art scene a century ago.

Her Own Path tells the stories of five early 20th century women, who each have a strong connection to Bayside, and were among the first professional women artists to emerge in Australia.

They were all trailblazers in their own way and achieved levels of success in their craft through innovation and tenacity in a male dominated world.

Discover Her Own Path

Explore their stories, inspirations and their connections to Bayside below.

Featured artists: Margaret Baskerville, Clarice Beckett, Janet Cumbrae Stewart, Norah Gurdon, and Jessie Traill.

Curator Insights

The National Gallery Art School

The women of Her Own Path each attended The National Gallery Art School in Melbourne around the turn of the 20th century, a time when unprecedented numbers of professionally trained female artists emerged from art schools.

Learn about their time at the school

Jessie Traill

Black and white etching of a panoramic landscape scene.

Jessie Traill, Evening Mallacoota, West 1924, etching and aquatint. © Estate of the artist. Licensed by Copyright Agency.

Brighton born artist Jessie Traill was an independent spirit who developed her artistic skills from an early age. She was one of the first women to practice printmaking in Australia and was crucial in the promotion of the medium.

Read about Jessie Traill

Author talk

Jo Oliver, author of the monograph Jessie Traill: A biography recently discussed the life and work of Jessie Traill.

Watch the author talk

Margaret Baskerville

Painting of a landscape with sheep scattered on the left side, A red farmhouse can be seen on the right with rain and clouds in the distance.

Margaret Baskerville, Winter pastures (detail) 1910, oil on canvas, 33 x 64 cm. Bayside City Council Art and Heritage Collection. Donated by Charles Douglas Richardson, 1931. 

Margaret Baskerville emerged as one of Australia’s first generation of women sculptors and became one of the country’s most widely commissioned sculptors in the early 20th century. After her death, her husband and fellow artist Charles Douglas Richardson, gifted a large collection of their work to City of Brighton, which forms a significant part of Bayside City Council’s Art and Heritage Collection.

Read about Margaret Baskerville

Janet Cumbrae Stewart

Detail of a pastel drwaing of a semi clothed female with her back to the viewer. A pink shawl drapes around her bare back.

Janet Cumbrae-Stewart, Portrait of Jean Shaw (detail) 1918, pastel. Cbus Collection of Australian Art, as advised by Dr Joseph Brown AO, OBE. 

Janet Cumbrae Stewart was a leading artist in pastels and portraiture and, despite being largely sidelined from the history of Australian art in the second half of the 20th century, was considered one of Melbourne’s most significant artists between 1910 and 1920. During this time she had remarkable success both in Australia and overseas.

Read about Janet Cumbrae Stewart

Norah Gurdon

Black and white photograph of two woman in early 20th century clothing seated painting outdoors in tall grass

Norah Gurdon and Janet Cumbrae Stewart painting outdoors. Private Collection, Melbourne.

Norah Gurdon was one of the first generation of professional artists who graduated from the National Gallery Art School in the early 20th century. Known for her impressionist landscape paintings where she captured the fleeting effects of nature, her work is synonymous with the Dandenongs which she recorded repeatedly after moving there the early 1920s.

Read about Norah Gurdon

Clarice Beckett

Painting of a beach scene with figures in bathing suits and parasols on the sand. Painted in an impressionist manner.

Clarice Beckett, Beach scene (detail), 33.5 x 43.5 cm. Courtesy Cbus Collection of Australian Art, as advised by Dr Joseph Brown AO, OBE.

Clarice Beckett’s quiet, lyrical paintings are synonymous with the Bayside suburb of Beaumaris, where she lived for sixteen years. Unappreciated during her lifetime, Beckett’s contribution was overlooked for more than thirty years, and she has only in recent times been recognised as one of Australia’s most important modern landscape painters

Read about Clarice Beckett

Curated Book collection

Bayside City Council's fabulous librarians have curated a reading list of books about women artists from the Bayside area.

Find the book list

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