Evening, St Kilda Road

Clarice Beckett
Evening, St Kilda Road c. 1930
oil on board
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Purchased with funds provided by the Australian Art Collection Benefactors 2013

Beckett was a mighty artist-wanderer; a great seeker of modern truths gleaned from the fleeting and the everyday. Evening, St Kilda Road beautifully reveals the distinct visual poetry that came from Beckett’s roaming, capturing the last glow of sunset from a city excursion. It demonstrates that in Beckett’s art of the momentary, what lingers is an enduring sensation of being in the world. Here, the receding taillights of traffic invite the eye to travel through the moment and connect with the sensations of her works. 

Indicative of Beckett’s painting method Evening, St Kilda Road is pigment rich and medium poor. She used little binding agent resulting in the sparseness of the paint layer, the hazed matt finish, and elusively defined forms. Lacking density, Beckett’s application of oil paint has the feel of watercolour washes and carries the sense of transience that comes with it.