Janet DAWSONATELIER PATRIS, Vers l'ombre (Towards the shadow). Enlarge 1 /1


Sydney, New South Wales, Australia born 1935

  • England 1957-59
  • Italy, France 1959-60


commenced 1945 /1955 – 1960 /1964

print workshop (organisation)

Vers l'ombre (Towards the shadow). 1960 Description: Vers l'ombre (Towards the darkness)
Place made: Atelier Patris, Paris, Île-de-France, Ville de Paris department, France
Materials & Technique: prints, ink; paper lithograph, printed in colour inks, from three stones Support: thick cream wove Arches BFK Rives paper
Manufacturer's Mark: watermark: lower left corner vertical, 'RIVES'
Edition State: published state
Impression: 22/30
Edition: edition of 30

Primary Insc: Signed and dated lower right below printed image in black pencil, 'J.Dawson '60'. Inscribed lower left below printed image in black pencil, '22/30 Vers l'ombre'.
Dimensions: printed image (irregular) 38.6 h x 44.2 w cm sheet 76.2 h x 56.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1966
Accession No: NGA 66.57
Image rights: © Janet Dawson. Licensed by Viscopy
  • Purchased by the Commonwealth Art Advisory Board (C.A.A.B.), from Gallery A, Melbourne, 1966.

Vers l’ombre seems too fancy a name for this lithograph and I prefer ‘towards the shadow’ – but the print was made at Atelier Patris, Paris, a registered French atelier, and so it had a French title.

In 1960, after two years study of lithography at the Slade School, London, I arrived at Atelier Patris, keen to learn the ways of a French lithographic workshop.

I was taken on as an unpaid helper. I worked for the love of the job and the fun and excitement of being part of a busy centre of art production in Paris, so very different from the 1950s Melbourne of my student days. The situation blossomed and soon I was a full-time proof printer for artists, mainly those of the ‘Paris School’, who came to have their works printed there.

Before an edition of prints was made at the Atelier, the proof printer and the artist would collaborate to make a set of five artist’s proofs signed by the artist, one of which would be labelled the ‘master’ proof. The stones would then be passed to the edition printer who would refer to the master proof as a standard of quality during the printing of the edition.

Vers l’ombre is one of a group of prints I made and proofed for myself towards the end of my time at Atelier Patris. They were editioned by the workshop as a reward for the months of unpaid labour.

Janet Dawson 2002

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002