March 11, 2021 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
This lecture will focus on Lionel Lindsay’s prints, and what forces brought the doctor’s son from Creswick to fall in love with what Baudelaire called the “profound and particularly perilous art” of etching.
Lionel Lindsay: Printmaker
Lionel Lindsay was one of the great polymaths of Australian art. His illustrations to Henry Lawson and Steele Rudd helped define how we see those archetypal bush characters. The way he drew the graceful ramshackle buildings of old Sydney helped persuade many that Australia did indeed have an architectural history worth preserving and, unusually for an Australian artist of his generation, his long term love of Spain made that country and its culture one of his main subjects.
Remarkably some years after he established a reputation as an etcher, he turned to wood engravings, making small scale exquisite studies of birds, flowers, vegetables – subject matter far removed from that of his etchings. Bernard Smith said of his wood engravings that they “have not been surpassed in Australia”.
Joanna Mendelssohn is the author of two books on Lionel Lindsay’s prints, and one biography (Lionel Lindsay: an artist and his family. She later revisited the ways in which the mythology of the Lindsay family had been created in her PhD thesis which was then reworked and published as Letters & Liars: Norman Lindsay and the Lindsay family (Angus & Robertson 1996).
She began her career at the Art Gallery of New South Wales before becoming Assistant Director at the Newcastle Art Gallery and then curator of the S.H.Ervin Museum and Art Gallery, where she curated the first scholarly survey exhibition of Sydney Long’s work, which became the basis of her book on this artist. After some years of working as an art critic, including for The Bulletin, she joined the staff of the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, where she was for many years the Program Director for the Master of Art Administration.
In 2003 she was instrumental in organising the national collaboration of universities and cultural institutions that ensured the future of Joan Kerr’s research for The Dictionary of Australian Artists by creating the Dictionary of Australian Artists Online, which has now evolved into Design and Art of Australia Online (www.daao.org.au). She is currently Editor in Chief.
She is the lead author with Catherine De Lorenzo, Alison Inglis and Catherine Speck of Australian Art Exhibitions: Opening our eyes ( Thames and Hudson, Australia, 2018). This project is the culmination of an ARC Linkage Project with UNSW, University of Melbourne and University of Adelaide in partnership with the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of South Australia and Museums Australia.
After retiring from the University of New South Wales she joined the University of Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts and the Centre of Visual arts as a Principal Honorary Fellow.