Mary Cecil AllenModernism and Modernity in Melbourne 1935-1960by Ann Rees
Mary Cecil Allen (1893-1962) was an Australian artist and art educator who moved to New York in 1927, where she became a lecturer and exhibited in leading galleries and museums. Although a resident of the United States until her death, Allen returned to Melbourne in 1935-36, 1950 and 1959-60, becoming an advocate of modern art and a symbol of modernity. On each occasion, she attracted large audiences to her lectures on modernism and controversially
exhibited her latest work, thereby exerting a considerable influence on attitudes towards modern art in Melbourne. As a glamorous and confident modern woman, she came to represent the seductive vitality of American modernity and acted as a vehicle of Americanisation. This article examines these three visits, tracing Allen’s activities and reception, and situating them within a wider cultural context.
Anne Rees completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at the University of Melbourne in 2009. She is currently enrolled in a Masters degree in History at University College London.