Australia 1887 – France 1951
Moly-Sabata, Sablons, Rhône-Alpes, Isère, France
Materials & Technique: ceramics, earthenware, earthenware with underglaze painted slip decoration
Travel overseas and study with cubist painter, Albert Gleizes in his artists’ colony, Moly-Sabata, in the village of Sablons in central France, was the creative and spiritual inspiration for Anne Dangar. Dangar was attracted by Gleizes’s theories on employing shifting planes and circular rhythm in art to explore the spiritual and symbolic values of life. Upon his invitation, she left Australia in 1930 and settled in France permanently.
Life on Gleize’s artists’ commune was not easy, however, and she had to toil in the garden to eke out a meagre existence. To help improve her income, Dangar learned traditional folk pottery at nearby villages. She became immersed in the fundamental styles and shapes that had for centuries characterised the region’s potteries.
This domestic Jug, in local terracotta, follows a traditional tapered cylinder form. Dangar believed the potter’s craft had an elemental spiritual quality. This belief partly sprang from the fact that throwing on the wheel created its own rhythmic motion. It seemed a natural progression that the rhythmic designs she had embraced from Gleizes should then be translated onto pottery. In this example, non-objective decoration in warm brown and creamy yellow was applied over the jug’s black slip ground.
This work was a gift to the National Gallery by Grace Crowley, who first introduced Dangar to Gleizes, and who remained her lifelong friend and correspondent.
Robert Reason 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