Ethleen PALMER, Malay squirrels. Enlarge 1 /1

Ethleen PALMER

Johannesburg, South Africa 1906 – Sydney, New South Wales, Australia 1958

  • Australia from 1921

Malay squirrels. c.1934 Place made: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Materials & Technique: prints, ink; paper linocut, printed in colour inks, from multiple blocks Support: oriental style paper
Manufacturer's Mark: no manufacturer's mark
Edition State: published state
Impression: undesignated impression
Edition: edition unknown

Primary Insc: no inscriptions
Tertiary Insc: Inscribed verso lower left in black pencil, '930/ 17- x 15 [illegible]'.
Dimensions: printed image 18.8 h x 28.4 w cm sheet 18.8 h x 28.4 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1978
Accession No: NGA 78.125
Subject: Australia, Art style: Japanese influence 1890s-1950s
  • Purchased by the Australian National Gallery, from Deutscher Fine Art, Melbourne, March 1978.

Ethleen Palmer is recognised as a great Australian printmaker and teacher. She was born in South Africa and moved to Australia during her teenage years.

In this print, two squirrels keep each other company in the branches of a tree. What do you think they are doing with their sharp claws? The curved shapes of their bodies mimic the curving branches of the tree.

Notice how the artist includes a large area of blue-grey space to the right of the squirrels. This format helps us to understand that the squirrels are high up in the tree.

Activity: Imagine that the artist has shown you what is happening to the left of the squirrels. With supervision, experiment with cutting that image into a potato or linoleum, cover with ink, and print onto white paper.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra