Art in Australia

Art in Australia
Significant art journal comes to life in high resolution
13 December 2016

This post comes from our guest blogger Rebecca Daly of the University of Wollongong Library

The impressive early twentieth century art magazine Art in Australia has been made permanently available online through Trove as a result of a joint project between the University of Wollongong Library, the University of New South Wales Library and the National Library of Australia. It is the first time that the full publication has been made freely available online in high resolution.

Art in Australia will appeal to followers of early twentieth century art and the wonderful aesthetics of those years. It contains articles by or about significant Australian artists. Norman Lindsay and Margaret Preston contributed articles as well as featured in issues. Their works are often displayed as exquisite high quality plates.

Art in Australia front cover October-November 1930

Above: Front cover, Art in Australia no. 34, October-November 1930

UOW Library and UNSW Library formed a partnership to digitise the collection. UNSW held an almost complete collection of the title and was able to contribute 47 issues, including a special architecture issue from 1919. Digitisation took place over three months, adhering to NLA’s specifications. Incredibly high quality images and easily legible text are the result.

The advertisements in Art in Australia were almost artworks themselves, reflecting the superior quality of the publication and the aspirations and lifestyles of its readers.

Advertisement for Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company in Art and Australia, issue 16, 1 June 1926

Above: Advertisement for Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, Art in Australia no. 16, 1 June 1926

Art in Australia is a major resource for Australian art history. It promoted modern ideas at a time when Australia was experiencing significant societal shifts in the aftermath of the First World War. The period saw the adoption of new technologies such as electricity and motor cars.

Advertisement for Kodascope, Art in Australia, no. 21, 1 September 1927

Above: advertisement for the Kodascope, Art in Australia no. 21, 1 September 1927

Art in Australia offers a unique, historical aspect into both Australian art and artists and the development of prominent art collections in Australia. It placed special value in female artists and embodied a recognition of Indigenous art beyond its anthropological value.

The Dancer by Thea Proctor, Art in Australia, no. 68, 16 August 1937

Above: Thea Proctor (1879-1966) 'The Dancer' (drawing) in Art in Australia no. 68, 16 August 1937

Launched in 1916 by artist and publisher Sydney Ure Smith (1887-1949), this pioneering publication was modelled on high quality European art publications such as The Studio, and sought to nurture a national tradition in Australian art and design. These sentiments are evident in his editorials, which demonstrate his deep commitment to advocacy for Australian art and artists. In his introduction to the third issue in 1917, he wrote: "it is our desire to extend the appreciation of Australian Art and help to remove the disadvantage for which it still suffers by reason of the failure of Australians to recognise its merit adequately".

'In the bush' oil painting by W. Lister Lister in Art in Australia, no. 3, 1917

Above: W. Lister Lister (1859-1943) 'In the bush, Jervis Bay' (oil painting) in Art in Australia no. 3, 1917

The collaborating libraries were pleased to give this historic and beautiful Australian art publication a 'second life' through the collaborative digitisation program. The free and openly available online format enables everyone—researchers, students and the whole community—to enjoy the benefits.

Percy Leason 'The Patched Cow Rug' (oil painting) in Art in Australia, no. 6, 1919

Above: Percy Leason (1889-1959) 'The patched cow-rug' (oil painting) in Art in Australia no. 6, 1919

download icon Trove allows readers to download, at no charge, medium resolution copies of whole issues or individual pages of Art in Australia. Simply click the download button on the tool bar at the left side of the relevant page in Trove.

shopping trolley Alternatively, there is an option to obtain high resolution prints or files via the National Library of Australia's Copies Direct service. Click the 'shopping trolley' button at the left of the page in Trove, and follow the steps.

Interested in partnering with us to put a journal on Trove? Get in touch: (02) 6262 1005 or

I chanced to come upon this page in your Trove Blog page of a painting that appeared in Art In Australia No. 1919. by Percy Leason "The Patched Cow Rug. I have been trying to locate this painting but have no success. Can you direct me to the whereabouts of this painting?
Hi Mark, Your enquiry has been sent to the Trove team to be answered. They will get back to you shortly.
Hi I have just found a thick magazine titled Sydney bridge celebrations 1932 - art in Australia limited It has the program of the opening and heaps of art type adds Can you advise if this a legitimate booklet and where I could find more info about it
Hi Bryan, Could you please ask your question using our Ask a Librarian service? They have great people monitoring that every day who will be able to help you.