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Clarice Beckett’s paintings have been compared to W.B. Yeats’ statement that his poems were made out of a mouthful of air. Collins Street, evening 1931 could be described as a damp winter’s exhalation.Clarice Beckett was absorbed by seemingly ordinary subjects, including suburban roads captured at dawn or twilight. She transformed them into images of intense observation and beauty.It was Beckett’s desire to hang her works in groups according to theme, thereby creating a visual resonance and rhythm. ‘My pictures, like music, should speak for themselves’, she said.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010

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