Ethel SPOWERS, Football. Enlarge 1 /1


Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 1890 – 1947

  • England, Europe 1921-23, 1928-29, 1931

Football. 1936 Place made: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Materials & Technique: prints, cardboard; ink; paper linocut, printed in colour inks, from four blocks (yellow ochre, reddish brown, grey, black) Support: off-white oriental laid tissue mounted to cream cardboard backing
Manufacturer's Mark: no manufacturer's mark
Edition State: published state
Impression: 5/60
Edition: edition of 60

Primary Insc: Signed and dated upper left on image in black pencil, 'E.L. Spowers - 1936'. Titled upper right on image in black pencil, 'Bank Holiday'. Inscribed upper right on image in black pencil, '5/60'.
Secondary Insc: no inscriptions.
Tertiary Insc: no inscriptions.
Dimensions: printed image 22.6 h x 27.6 w cm sheet 27.6 h x 30.6 w cm
Cat Raisonné: PIAP | 1936.0004 | impression | National Gallery of Australia | 5/60
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1982
Accession No: NGA 82.608
Subject: Australia, Art style: Grosvenor school linocuts
  • Purchased by the Australian National Gallery, from Garry Anderson Gallery, Sydney, July 1982;
  • From the exhibition, 'Important prints of 1930s - 1950s', Sydney: Garry Anderson Gallery, 19 May - 19 June 1982, cat., no.14.

In 1936 the Sydney Morning Herald reviewed the work of the modernist printer Ethel Spowers:

‘Few Australian exponents of the colour print can equal the gaiety, the forcefulness and the imagination shown by Ethel Spowers.’

Football illustrates the Herald’s observations. The suggestion of a frozen movement recalls the high-speed frame technique of sports photography found in newspapers and pictorial magazines of the period.

The printmaker Claude Flight introduced Ethel Spowers to the medium of colour linocut. He believed this printing process was an affordable and democratic art medium, which could introduce modern art to the home of the ordinary person.

The subjects that interested Spowers were often sporting and playground images. Like many women artists of her generation Spowers chose not to have children, but she was never tired of drawing them. She celebrated children’s exuberance for life, while ignoring major events such as the Depression and the Second World War.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra