Australian Cubism: Anne Dangar

The last of our Australian Cubists to be featured is Anne Dangar, born in 1885 in Kempsey, NSW, daughter of the politician Otho Orde Dangar. Anne was a painter and potter and like her friends Grace Crowley and Dorrit Black, studied Cubism in France with Andre Lhote.

In 1930 Anne joined Albert Gleizes’ art community at
Moly-Sabata (Sablons, France) after a disappointing trip back to Australia where she found the reception unappreciative of Modern trends. You can still hire a studio in Moly-Sabata in what was originally a customs house, if you so desire.

I went searching for some examples of her early paintings and came up with the first one illustrating a strong yet crude cubist style.
This is Pochoir Composition (1936)
And here, in 1934, she has painted a scene onto glazed earthenware, heralding her move towards pottery pieces.

Even though Gleizes’ guidance had a profound influence on Anne’s developing style, life was tough in the commune. Anne was expected to earn her own living while supporting the community (without remuneration) teaching, labouring in the vegetable garden and even keeping bees! But she managed to produce some excellent works based on working with local peasants and their traditional techniques. Here she is at her wheel.
(Ref: And this is an earthenware jug produced around 1935.
Anne incorporated into her decorations Gleizes's theories about the relationship of art to Catholicism and medieval mysticism. which is illustrated by this enamel on glazed tiles titled Vierge à l’Enfant (1937).
In 1934 Dangar was commissioned to create La Vierge et l'enfant Jesu (Virgin and infant Jesus). I am note sure if this is the same or a similar piece but it serves as a good example of rustic cubism.

In 1939 Anne Dangar travelled to Fez in Morocco to further her understanding of Islamic designs by working with local potters. These examples illustrate her learning. I could only find one example to illustrate this period which is her Moroccan tea set (c.1940)

She returned to France because of the unrest and was confined to the Moly-Sabata community during the war including being interned for 5 days in a concentration camp. Somehow she not only managed to survive by teaching English and continuing to work on her pottery, even managing to have her own kiln built. Here is Celadon storage pot with Celtic designs (c.1940)
And this is a Soup terrine glazed earthenware (France 1951)
The title of this plate is *Femme-et-enfant
Anne Dangar converted to Catholicism and was looked after by local monks when she contracted cancer. She died in 1951 and is buried in Serrières, Ardèche.

From what I have read Anne Dangar always saw herself as a painter, not a potter which is understandable considering the wonderful designs she was painting into her works of art.
Dangar found that the rhythmic motion and circular movement of her pottery wheel not only reflected Gleizes’s notions of rotation and translation, but also corresponded with Cubist composition, as it was the movement of form and colour that created the picture.

Dangar's works are exhibited in Paris, including the Musée National d'Art Moderne. I believe there are also examples of her work in the
art galleries of New South Wales and South Australia. I will leave you with a couple more of her plates.

Painting Hints If you are learning to paint or endeavouring to change your style I suggest you copy one of Anne Dangar's designs onto a board and paint it. You can follow her rustic colour scheme or change it to suit your own personality. I would love to see the results.

Spot the difference-the last plate shown above and the third last plate are different. Can you spot where Anne has changed her design?

Where to next? For something different and a bit of fun we will look at artists who use unusual, innovative mediums for the creation of their works of art.

And I have to welcome aboard a fellow Bendigonian as a new subscriber. Very soon I will be featuring the Bendigo Art Gallery and the Tourist Centre which also has displays. The whole art scene in Central Victoria is pulsating!

Anne Newman

Oil Painter in realistic genre style, predominantly buildings and people. To continue the discussion contact Anne on or phone +61 407 516 522

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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