Powerhouse Museum Collection Search 2.53
Category history:
   

Support the Powerhouse with a tax-deductible gift

Make a donation
This object belongs to
Pictorials > Paintings

+ 94/102/1 Mural, 'ACI Glassworks', oil an...
+ 91/501-1 Advertising illustration, 'Spee...
+ 91/501-2 Advertising illustration, 'Drea...
+ 91/501-3 Advertising illustration, 'Drea...
+ 91/501-4 Advertising illustration, 'What...
+ 91/501-5 Advertising illustration, 'Ther...
+ 91/501-6 Advertising illustration, 'Brav...
+ 91/501-7 Advertising illustration, [para...
+ 91/501-8 Advertising illustration, [merr...
+ 91/501-9 Advertising illustration, 'Pres...
+ 91/501-10 Advertising illustration, 'No....
+ 91/501-11 Advertising illustration, 'No....
+ 91/501-12 Advertising illustration, [Cap...
+ 91/501-14 Advertising illustration, 'Tel...
+ 91/501-15 Advertising illustration, 'Wha...
+ 91/501-16 Advertising illustration, 'Don...
+ 91/501-17 Advertising illustration, 'Wha...
+ 91/501-18 Advertising illustration, 'Don...
+ 91/501-19 Advertising illustration, [Cap...
+ 91/501-20 Advertising illustration, 'She...
+ 91/501-21 Advertising illustration, 'Men...
+ 91/501-22 Advertising illustration and p...
+ 91/501-23 Advertising illustration, 'You...
+ 91/501-24 Advertising illustration, [The...
+ 91/501-25 Advertising illustration, [The...
+ 91/501-26 Advertising illustration, 'Sle...
+ 91/501-27 Advertising illustration, 'Tak...
+ 91/501-28 Advertising illustration, [Por...
+ 91/501-29 Advertising illustration, [Por...
+ 91/502 Textile design, 'Streetscene', go...
+ 2009/68/1 George and Joyce Gittoes Yello...
+ 2009/68/1-15 Painting, (1 of 3) original...
+ 2009/68/1-16 Painting, (1 of 3) original...
+ 2009/68/1-17 Painting, (1 of 3) original...
+ 2009/79/22 Painting, watercolour, depict...
+ 86/1312 Painting, acrylic on canvas boar...
+ 86/1313 Painting, acrylic on canvas boar...
+ 86/1314 Painting, acrylic on canvas, (Ba...
+ 86/1315 Painting, acrylic on canvas, (Fi...
+ 87/1026 Watercolour (gouache), entitled ...
+ 91/1135 Pub painting, advertising, frame...
+ 91/1136 Pub painting, advertising, frame...
+ A622 Specimen presentation address showi...
+ 87/1413 Painting, 'Allegorical Study of ...
+ H7957 Chinese painting, colour on silk, ...
+ H7957A Chinese paintings (18), colour on...
+ A1558 Specimen of pen painting on canvas...
+ A1747 Painting, pen on wood, Mrs C E Sha...
+ 92/43 Painting, Aboriginal motif on car ...
+ 88/1084 Painting, 'Airborne', oil on can...



Abstract artwork by Dahl Collings, Australia, 1950
zoom image
Images: 01 02 03

Object statement
Artwork, 'Antennae', mounted and framed, pen and ink on paper, drawn by Dahl Collings, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia / New York, United States of America, 1950
This work is part of the second Dahl & Geoffrey Collings archival collection, which relates to a previously acquired Dahl Collings (1910-1988) and Geoffrey Collings (1905-2000) design archive acquired by the Powerhouse Museum when Geoffrey Collings was still alive in 1991.

The second archive contains documents - official and personal - relevant to an understanding of the Collings' multi-disciplinary approach to design. It includes objects, documents and other material relating to their life, photography, documentary film-making, art and design practice and provides a detailed insight into the life and work of these pioneering multi-disciplinary 20th century Australian artists, designers, photographers and film-makers.

It also documents and provides insight into their relationships with a number of leading international and Australian designers including their Bauhaus friends and colleages Sibyl and Laszlo Moholy Nagy and Juliet and Gyorgy Kepes (1906 Hungary - 2001 USA), and Australian artists, writers, designers and other creatives, including Alistair Morrison, Russell Drysdale, Gordon and Mary Andrews, George Johnston and others.

The collection includes personal correspondence, handmade cards, photographs, publications, original designs and selected objects which include photographs and abstract paintings by Dahl and Geoffrey Collings, an abstract painting by Gordon Andrews, a collaged self-portrait by Alistair Morrison.
The artwork was drawn by Dahl Collings in Sydney or New York in 1950.

Dahl Collings (1909-1988)
Commercial artist, illustrator, designer (graphic, textiles, costume), photographer, documentary film-maker and painter.
Biography prepared by Anne-Marie Van de Ven, Curator, updated October 2012

Dulcie May Wilmott was born in Adelaide, South Australia in 1909 to Mabel and Josiah Percival Willmott, a school teacher. From about 1926 to 1932, Dahl studied at East Sydney Technical College under Rayner Hoff and attended painting classes at the J.S. Watkins Studio Art School. Her career began at Anthony Horderns and Sons in 1928, providing illustrations for the house magazine 'Horderian Monthly' and the firm's catalogues; she also did freelance work for other Sydney department stores, Farmer and Company, and David Jones. She also designed covers for 'The Home' magazine published by Sydney Ure Smith.

In 1933 Dulcie Wilmott married Geoffrey Collings (1905-2000); they had two daughters, Donna (b.1937) and the artist Silver Collings (b.1940). She and Geoffrey worked collaboratively for most of their lives, co-signing the majority of their work 'Dahl and Geoffrey Collings'; the name Dahl having been coined by Geoffrey as a term of endearment. One of their first works signed jointly was a 1934 cover design for 'The Home' magazine.

The Collingses travelled to London via Spain in 1935 taking many photographs and making their first documentary film in the medieval town of Alquezar in the Catalonian region of Spain. In London, Dahl worked as a freelance designer until László Moholy Nagy offered her a job in his studio working on the Simpon's Piccadilly project in 1936. There she gained first-hand experience of European modernism and of Moholy Nagy?s and Gyorgy Kepes's approach to design which she and Geoffrey embraced wholeheartedly. Dahl remained life long friends with Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and his wife Sibyl, and Gyorgy Kepes and his English girlfriend, Juliet Appleby. While living in England, Dahl and Geoffrey Collings travelled to France and into Europe. Their first child Donna was born in London in 1937. With Alistair Morrison, Dahl and Geoffrey organised the 'Three Australians' exhibition at the Lund Humphreys Gallery in 1938 to show their British work with a catalogue essay by Edward McKnight-Kauffer.

They returned to Sydney in December 1938 via Martinique, stopping in Tahiti for three months to make their second documentary film 'Tiare Tahiti' about life in contemporary Polynesia. In 1938, they returned to Sydney and attempted to introduce modern design to local industry; Dahl being one of the very first Australian women to begin the slow process of introducing modern art and design principles to Australian industry. The Collingses mounted their 'Exhibition of Modern Industrial Art and Documentary Photography' at David Jones Art Gallery in 1939 and, with Richard Haughton James, established a commercial and industrial design studio, The Design Centre.

Dahl exhibited with the Contemporary Art Society and the Australian Commercial and Industrial Artists' Association, winning (with Geoffrey) four ACIAA awards in 1940, the year their second child Silver was born in Sydney. She also painted murals for the Accountants Club, Kings Cross restaurants and a kindergarten in the Blue Mountains in the early 1940s, and Dahl and Geoffrey Collings collaborated with Alistair Morrison, Douglas Annand and Elaine Haxton to produce the 'Temple of Beauty' display for 'Woman' magazine at the Royal Easter Show. During WWII, Dahl Collings worked as a fashion artist and designer on ?Woman? magazine where Geoffrey had been Art Director, while Geoffrey joined the Camouflage Unit of the Department of Homeland Security. She also continued to work freelance, designing covers for Sydney Ure Smith?s new journal, 'Australia National Journal' and producing designs for Elizabeth Arden, David Jones, Qantas, the Orient Line and 'Woman' magazine.

Dahl was costume and set designer for the Ealing Studios films, 'The Overlanders' (1946) and 'Eureka Stockade' (1949). Her paintings of Charters Towers were published in the final issue of London's 'Lilliput' magazine in 1950. She designed posters for the Orient Line and later, fabrics for the SS Oronsay ocean liner.

In 1950 the family moved to New York. Dahl became a design consultant to the Australian Trade Commission, in charge of the Australian Display Centre in the Rockefeller Center, while Geoffrey was Pictures Editor for the United Nations. There she also undertook some freelance work, such as drawings for 'Harper's Bazaar'.

Back at Sydney in 1953, the Collingses moved into their newly built house in Castlecrag, designed by the architects Baldwinson and Booth. They established the Collings Production film company and many of the films they produced and directed won international awards. 'Dreaming', a film produced for Qantas about Aboriginal art, won one of the five special diplomas (the top award) at the 1964 Venice Biennale Festival of Art Films; their Opera House film, 'Job No.1112' was awarded a silver medal at the 1975 Festival of Architectural Films in Madrid; and the series of documentary films they made for Qantas on Australian artists Sidney Nolan, Russell Drysdale and William Dobell in the 1960s were also well received.

In 1970, Dahl and Geoffrey Collings moved to Killcare Heights on the New South Wales Central Coast. From 1971 Dahl devoted herself full time to painting. She had solo shows at the Bonython Gallery (1976) and Holdsworth Gallery in Sydney (1977) and at the City of Hamilton Art Gallery in Victoria (1982). Dahl died in 1988. Geoffrey died in 2000.

References:
Jenny Allen, (1 January 2008), Australian Visions. The Films of Dahl and Geoffrey Collings, (ERAS Journal ISSN 1445-5218), Type: website http://arts.monash.edu.au/publications/eras/edition-4/allen.php
Dahl and Geoffrey Collings Design Archive, (Place: Sydney, NSW: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (Powerhouse Museum))
Crombie, Isobel, (1989), 'A documentary impulse: Australian photographer Geoffrey Collings', (Place: Art Bulletin of Victoria, Volume 29)
Caban, Geoffrey, (1983), A Fine Line: A History of Australian Commercial Art, (Place: Sydney, NSW)
Author, (April-May 1982), 'A House Full of Memories', Vogue LIVING, (Place: Australia)
Warrick, (2 October 1992), 'Man of Movies', Daily News (Place: NSW)
Administrative history
Geoffrey Collings was born on 10 November 1905 in Hamilton, Queensland. He first studied at Brisbane Technical College (1919 - 1922). He then worked as a trainee commercial artist for various firms in Brisbane, including George N. Orr's agency, which was the first advertising agency in Brisbane.

He then worked as a jackeroo on properties in Queensland and the Northern Territory for a couple of years. He returned to Brisbane in 1927 and freelanced as a commercial artist until 1930, when he left for London. In London he worked as assistant studio manager for the book distributors W. H Smith & Sons. He also attended night classes in painting and drawing at St Martins School and in etching at the Central School.

He returned to Sydney in 1933, where he met Dahl. They were married in 1933.

Dahl Collings (nee. Dulcie Wilmott) was born on 26 December 1911 in Adelaide, and died in 1988. She studied at East Sydney Technical College in 1926-1927. Her first job was with Anthony Horderns when she was eighteen. She worked on the house magazine "Hordernian Monthly". She also did freelance art work for Farmers and David Jones; and designed covers for "Home" magazine, published by the Sydney Morning Herald.

In 1935 Dahl and Geoffrey went to London where they worked until 1939. Geoffrey worked as the Art Director for the American advertising agency Erwin Wasey & Co. Dahl did freelance work until she was offered a job working for Professor Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, a leading designer from the Bauhaus. She worked on the interior design and presentation of the Simpson's Department Store in Piccadilly. Moholy-Nagy was responsible for creating the whole image of the new store. Dahl worked on designing a wide range of objects for the store including the restaurant tablecloths, clothes, window displays and tobacco tin lids. The design team included Gyorgy Kepes who was also from the Bauhaus, and Alistair Morrison. Moholy-Nagy's ideas on design, his versatility and his willingness to explore the possibilities of different media had an enormous influence on both Dahl and Geoffrey. Dahl credits him as the greatest influence on her career.

In June 1938 Dahl and Geoffrey, together with Alistair Morrison, held an exhibition of commercial art and photography at the Lund Galleries in London. The title of the exhibition was "Three Australians" and the catalogue introduction was written by the poster artist E. McKnight Kaufer.

They travelled in Spain and France. In Spain in 1936 they made their first documentary film, "Alquezar" about agrarian life in Spain.

In 1937 their first child. Donna, was born in London.

The contact with the Bauhaus designers inspired both Dahl and Geoffrey with the enthusiasm to bring the Bauhaus principles back to Australia. They returned to Sydney in 1939. On their way home they stopped in Tahiti and made the documentary film "Tiare Tahiti" about life in contemporary Polynesia.

Their second child, Silver, was born in Sydney in 1940.

Once back in Sydney they established the Design Centre with Richard Haughton James, in Phillip Street. The Design Centre specialised in industrial and commercial design. They considered themselves to be a new breed of modern designers, creating "a new kind of useful art to suit our new ways of living" (R. Haughton James, Exhibition catalogue 1939). They helped introduce the principles of modern design to Australian industry.

In June of 1939 they held an exhibition at the David Jones Galleries, called "An exhibition of Modern Industrial Art and Documentary Photos". It showed many of the layouts, designs and photographs they had made while overseas.
During this time they were also active in the Sydney branch of the Contemporary Art Society. They both exhibited in the Society's second exhibition in 1940. They were also active members of the Australian Commercial and Industrial Artists Association.

During the 1940s, Geoffrey was Art Director at "Woman" magazine. At the beginning of World War Two, he joined the Department of Home Security as a camouflage officer. He held an exhibition at the Macquarie Galleries in 1943 of drawings and gouaches relating to his experiences.

It was also during this time that his involvement in film making increased. He made films for the Civil Construction Corps, and made the film "Air strip" for the Allied Works Council. He also produced booklets on film making such as "The use of film in wartime".

In 1945 Geoffrey was the assistant director on the film "The Overlanders", directed by Harry Watt for the Baling Studio. Dahl was the costume designer for the film. Dahl also worked as the costume designer for the film "Eureka Stockade", made in 1948. From 1946 to 1949, Geoffrey was a director and senior producer for the Commonwealth Film Unit.

In 1950 they went to New York. Geoffrey worked as the Pictures Editor for the United Nations. While Dahl worked for the Australian Trade Commission designing displays for the Australian Display Centre in the Rockefeller Centre. Dahl also did some freelance work, such as drawings for Harper's magazine.

They returned to Sydney in 1954, and moved into a newly built house in Castlecrag, designed by the architects Baldwinson and Booth. During the 1950s Dahl continued her association with the Orient Line. In 1957 they established a film production company, which was called Collings Productions. They produced a number of documentary films for companies such as Qantas, CSR, and Shell.

They continued to direct and produce films until their retirement in 1970. Upon retiring they moved to Kilcare Heights on the Central Coast, where they both resumed painting. Dahl continued to have exhibitions of her work, until her death in 1988.

Prepared by Sue Davidson, 1996

 This text content licensed under CC BY-NC.

Description
Artwork, 'Antennae', mounted and framed, pen and ink on paper, drawn by Dahl Collings, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia / New York, United States of America, 1950

Artwork, 'Antennae', abstract composition made up of vertical, horizontal and diagonal black lines and four circles on a white background, signed 'Dahl '50', pen and ink, mounted under glass and framed in light timber frame, Dahl Dollings, Sydney or New York, 1950.
On the back is a label headed United Nations UNIES New York with the title, "Antennae"; author, Dahl Collings; medium, drawing and dated November, 1950. Also on the back is a King's Point address for G.F. Collings and other notes in pencil.

Made: 1950
Marks
On the back is a label headed United Nations UNIES New York with the title, 'Antennae'; author Dahl Collings; medium, drawing and dated November, 1950.
2007/30/6
Production date
1950

 This text content licensed under CC BY-SA.
This object belongs to:
Dahl and Geoffrey Collings Archive Collection
Subjects
+ Australian design
Short persistent URL
Concise link back to this object: http://from.ph/361963
Cite this object in Wikipedia
Copy and paste this wiki-markup:

{{cite web |url=http://from.ph/361963 |title=Abstract artwork by Dahl Collings, Australia |author=Powerhouse Museum |accessdate=30 July 2014 |publisher=Powerhouse Museum, Australia}}


Copyright
Images on this site are reproduced for the purposes of research and study only. Whilst every effort has been made to trace the Copyright holders, we would be grateful for any information concerning Copyright of the images and we will withdraw them immediately on Copyright holder's request.
Object viewed 4330 times. Parent IRN: 2131. Master IRN: 2131 Img: 105522 Flv: H:911px W:1024px SMO:0 RIGHTS:.