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(1890 – 1964), United Kingdom

Ralph Balson Biography

An important exponent of abstraction in Australia in the 1930s, Ralph Balson belonged to a group of Sydney-based artists that also included Grace Crowley, committed to geometric abstraction and Constructivism.

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Balson was born in Dorset, England, and moved to Sydney, Australia in 1913. In the early 1920s, he attended classes at Julian Ashton’s Sydney Art School, studying under Crowley and Ashton and painting post-impressionist works. Crowley established an art school in Sydney dedicated to contemporary art in 1932, and then the opening of the Modern Art Centre in Margaret Street by Dorrit Black, an artist who had studied Cubism in Paris with Albert Gleize, (1927-1929), encouraged Balson’s interest in pure abstraction.

He held his first solo exhibition of abstract works at Black’s gallery in 1932. Balson shared a studio with Crowley throughout the 1940s, realising his commitment to Constructivist principles in colourful geometric images that were both lyrical and austere.

His work is represented in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.

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