Helen Ogilvie

Helen Ogilvie

Helen Ogilvie studied painting and drawing at the National Gallery School in Melbourne from 1922-25. She taught herself to make colour linocuts from a book by Claude Flight, and likewise became interested in wood engraving through books, having seen reproductions of wood engravings by Thomas Bewick (who also inspired Lionel Lindsay), Edward Calvert and Eric Gill. She began to make them using improvised tools, blocks and materials, with some help from Eric Thake, leading to many commissions for bookplates and book illustrations, and was especially attracted to the sharp contrast of black and white in the prints. She favoured everyday subjects, such as her garden, animals and the bush, including bush architecture, as in this print.

While working as the director of Peter Bray Gallery in Melbourne, Helen Ogilvie organised exhibitions for such avant-garde artists as Margo Lewers, John Brack, Sidney Nolan and Arthur Boyd, to name a few. Her own work was also very modern and she was engaged with the Crafts Revival of the 1950s and 60s, which allowed her to make a living designing cutting edge lampshades in London for a period.