# 26889

PRESTON, Margaret (1875 - 1963)

Dahlia and Sunflower

$35,000.00 AUD

Created 1933. Woodblock print on tan, fibrous laid paper, hand coloured, 305 x 306 mm, signed in the image lower right, signed in pencil lower right, titled in pencil ‘Sunflower 6th copy‘. Framed.

First advertised for sale from The Macquarie Galleries, Sydney, in the June 1933 issue of Art in Australia under the title ‘Sunflowers and Dahlias’, this vibrant still life is one of Margaret Preston’s rarest woodcuts. Printed in an very low edition of unknown size, copies numbered 14 and 15 were available at a group exhibition at The Sedon Galleries, Melbourne for the price of 2 1/2 guineas, framed. Variously titled in exhibition catalogues as Sunflower, Sunflowers, Dahlia and Sunflowers, each impression was hand coloured by Preston and inscribed with her preferred title Sunflower or Sunflower etc. lowre left, along with the edition number – in this instance the sixth copy, or impression.  Referencing Van Gogh’s famous rendition of the flower, the sunflowers are arranged in a similar brown earthenware pot, but in Preston’s work, contrasted with the bursts of colour of the dahlias. Two examples are recorded in public collections, and apart from this example, no others recorded at auction.

A rare and beautiful sunburst from one of Australia’s most admired artists.


Exhibited (other examples):

Exhibition of Etchings, Woodcuts etc. by Margaret Preston (and others), The Sedon Galleries, Melbourne, 12 September 1933, cat. 14 (another example, as ‘Sunflowers etc.’)

Exhibition of Etchings, Woodcuts & Pencil drawings, The Sedon Galleries, Melbourne, 12 – 24 December 1933, cat. 178 (another example)

Exhibition of Etchings, Woodcuts etc., The Sedon Galleries, Melbourne, 9 – 24 December 1936, cat. 150 (another example, as ‘Dahlia and Sunflowers’)

Society of Artists, Parbury House, Brisbane, 19 May – 5 June 1937, cat. 75 (another example, as ‘Sunflower’)


Collections (other examples):

National Gallery of Australia

Art Gallery of South Australia


Selected literature (other examples illustrated):

Art in Australia, Sydney, Third series, no. 50, June 1933, p. 48 (as ‘Sunflowers and Dahlias’)

BUTLER, Roger. The prints of Margaret Preston: a catalogue raisonne. Canberra : Australian National Gallery and Melbourne : Oxford University Press, 1987, catalogue no. 170, p. 166 (illustrated)

BUTLER, Roger. The Prints of Margaret Preston: a catalogue raisonne. Canberra: National Gallery of Australia, 2005, catalogue no. 170, p. 176 (illustrated).



(possibly) : Sun Flowers, Woodcut, signed with initials in plate, 31 x 30 cm, Geoff K. Gray, Australian & European Paintings, Sydney, 14/11/1983, Lot No. 322

Philip Bacon Gallery, Brisbane

Private collection, Queensland, acquired from the above in 1984

Estate of the above, Queensland

Deutscher & Hackett, 15 July 2020, lot 44 (the title mis-transcribed as Sunflowers + dahlias)