Nora Heysen (1911-2003)
oil on canvas
36.6 x 52.5 cm
Gift of Howard Hinton 1934 Sponsored by The Packsaddle Fundraising Group in 2015 for the Adopt an Artwork Program
Born 1911 Hahndorf, SA. Died 2003 Sydney.
One of the most loved images in the Hinton Collection, Eggs is a celebration of the beauty found in ordinary, everyday objects. Painted when the artist was only 16 years old, Nora Heysen has depicted the homeliness of a country kitchen scene of eggs in a cane basket and on a wooden bench. One has been cracked into a glass in preparation for cooking. The creams and browns of the eggs, wall and bench harmonise with the matching blue of the cloth and curtain behind.
Howard Hinton donated this beautiful work and it hung in the Library of the Armidale Teachers' College. In the Armidale Express in 1948, and in the later memorial volume Howard Hinton: Patron of Art, John Fountain claimed it as the best of Nora Heysen's works, showing “loving detail combined with an earthly lyricism”.
Nora Heysen was the daughter of artist Sir Hans Heysen, and was tutored by her father in still life and portraiture. She studied at the School of Fine Arts, North Adelaide, working under F. Millward Grey from 1926 -1933, and in 1934 she travelled overseas to study at the Central School of Art and the Byam Shaw School in London.
Returning to Australia in 1938, she settled in Sydney, and that same year became the first woman to win the Archibald Prize, at the age of 27. From 1944 to 1946 she served as an official war artist in New Guinea. In 1998 she was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for her service to art.