The legacy of Rita Marquand

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  • Published 20051206
  • ISBN: 9780733316722
  • Extent: 252 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

Selected for Best Australian Stories 2006

THE FIRST RITA Marquand oil painting I ever saw was at a garage sale on the sloping lawn of a huge old house in Launceston a few years ago. Ever since I was a girl at art school I have been collecting the works of lesser known and unknown Australian women painters. The collection is now quite extensive. Rita’s picture was on a smallish piece of plywood, framed in an elaborate chipped gilt frame – two young girls in filmy white dresses playing among yellow grass. The grass is alive with subtle colours, the girls caught in a moment of intimate laughter. It was titled and signed on the back in red pen – “The Deedees” Rita Marquand, Fatima, 1927. I bought the painting for two dollars from a man who said it had been done by a distant relative of his late wife. This is a typical story from my files – the discovery of a new “unknown” woman painter who sets me off on a journey into the poignant past. There was so much talent, passion, beauty locked away in the lives of women before the liberation of the 1970s came along and gave girls the chance to show what they were made of.

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