- Lina Bryans
- Exhibition Buildings
- oil on board
- 50 x 60 cm
signed lower right: Lina
inscribed verso: Exhibition Buildings / Lina Bryans / Darebin Bridge House / Darebin
Note: Lina Bryans lived at Darebin Bridge House from 1940 -1948.
Theodore Berman Collection
Exhibition Buildings depicts the grand dome of one of the world’s oldest continuing grand exhibition halls, surrounded by parklands in Carlton. It is typical of Bryans’ modernist style with bold, saturated colour and vigorous brushstrokes. The flanking fences and darker green foliage frames the distant sunlit dome
Despite no early formal training, Bryans’ successful painting career was encouraged from 1936-37, especially by William ‘Jock’ Frater, and by 1938 her work was selected by Basil Burdett for inclusion in the Herald Exhibition of Outstanding Pictures (1938) and included in the Art of Australia 1788 – 1941 exhibition shown at MOMA, New York (1941) and held her first solo exhibition in 1948.
In the 1940s Lina Bryans became the central figure at Darebin Bridge House, a colonial style house in Heidelberg, which had operated as a licensed hotel. She first rented a room in 1940 but retained her city studio until 1942 and would have passed through Carlton and the Exhibition Buildings on her way to the city. Bryans owned Darebin Bridge House from 1942 – 1948, when it became known as the Pink Hotel (due to the redecorated outside pink painted walls), attracting a number of modernist visual artists and writers and becoming a boarding house and studio for artists including Ada May Plante; Ian Fairweather; Frater; Isabel Tweddle; Sybil Craig and a modern literary set including Alan McCulloch and many key figures of the Meanjin group.
In the 1940s, Frater’s son modified a van to a mobile studio for Bryans, allowing her to drive around the city and paint as she found appealing subject matter. Her approach to art was always intuitive, as she focussed on capturing the essence of her sitter or the landscape in front of her through her bold use of colour and expressive use of paint.
Bryans was a member of the Independent Group and of the Melbourne Society of Women Painters and Sculptors and is recognised for her portraits and landscapes, as well as her later more abstract painting. She was awarded the Crouch Prize in 1966 and was the subject of survey exhibitions at the National Gallery of Victoria (1982) and Melbourne University (1995). Lina Bryans: Rare Modern (G. Forwood) was published in 2003. Bryans’ work is represented in many regional collections as well as Melbourne University; the National Library of Australia; State Library of Victoria; Yale University; the National Portrait Gallery; National Gallery of Australia; Art Gallery of New South Wales, National Gallery of Victoria; Art Gallery of South Australia; Art Gallery of Western Australia; Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.