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Judy Cassab Various Works of art

The Artist

Judy Cassab was first and foremost a well known portrait artist who immigrated to Sydney Australia, a few years after World War Two, from her native Hungary following the tragic loss of members of her family during the Holocaust. Cassab soon established a name for herself as a portrait artist having been commissioned by Sir Charles Lloyd Jones to paint a portrait of his wife and becoming a finalist for the Archibald Prize in the same year, 1951. Some forty of her works were selected for the Archibald Prize during her lifetime for which she won the prize in 1960 and 1967. Cassab also won the Women’s Weekly Portrait Prize in 1955 & 1956. As already noted, Judy Cassab was active as an artist during a critical time-span in Australian art history where post-modern and contemporary movements took hold. Among her many portraits are those of fellow artists, Brian Seidel, John Olson, Margaret Olley, Guy Warren and John Coburn, artists who are represented in the University of Canberra’s Art Collection and have been key players in the post-modern and contemporary arts.

Judy Cassab Sphinx Judy Cassab various

The works of art

The University of Canberra is fortunate to have  17 works of art by Judy Cassab; all of which were donated from her estate through the Cultural Gifts Fund Program. 14 of the  works are limited edition etchings  that depict a range of figures in different settings including  an artist and model, formal group portraits, a pair of figures playing music, figure studies, informal arrangements such as ‘Coffee at Musee D’Orsay’ and a screen-print landscape. This group of etchings comes as a single set of works by Judy Cassab representing a large gift from the artist’s estate of similarly themed drawings. Each work is well composed, often simple line drawings in realistic and natural poses. Many of the works are a standard 25cm by 33cm in landscape with some varying in size in portrait and were produced between 1994 and 2005.

The remaining four works of art are a mixture of  different media .The first, created in 2001, is a simple line drawing in a similar style to the etchings of a nude cross legged. The work is well composed and is a good anatomical study. Sphinx and flowers which was painted oils onto hard-board in 2008, shows a still life setting of a large sculptured golden sphinx with a vase of irises beside it against a blue background. This work juxtaposes and yet complements the second still life work, vase with yellow flowers, created around the same time. The flowers and the background provide a vibrant splash of colour. The unusual ornament resembling a smiling face brings about a light sense of humour to the piece. These works illustrate the range of styles and genres that the artist explored in her studio and in perfecting her style. These three works are all signed by the artist in the  lower righthand corner.

The last work of art in this gift is a double portrait of ‘Megan and John’, framed and signed in the lower right corner. The artist has portrayed the couple (which includes the executor of the estate and donor) in an informal setting with John playing a guitar and Megan possibly singing, but certainly looking outwards to the audience.  It is a beautifully composed work of art, full of colour and movement with all the traits of Judy’s portrait styles.

These works were acquired through the Cultural Gifts Fund.