Still life with fish

Born Melbourne, Australia 1901, died 1984

In the 1930s, Peggie Crombie was inspired by the modernist art developing in Melbourne. Crombie’s early period of painting exploited dark tones and monochromic colour, and reflected her training under Bernard Hall at the National Gallery School, Melbourne. Her later utilisation of bright colours and the spontaneous and lively sensations in many of her paintings reflects the influence of Paul Cézanne and the French fauve artists who included Henri Matisse and André Derain.

In Melbourne Crombie exhibited with a number of modernist groups, including the Embryos, the 1932 Group and The New Art Club of which she was a founding member. Later she showed with the Melbourne Society of Women Painters and Sculptors and the Victorian Artists Society.

Sybil Craig, a fellow artist and friend of Crombie, reflected on the artist in 1983, saying: ‘I think of her as a natural painter who could do no wrong. She always painted freely, aiming for unity of tone and using bold forms. In the early days her paintings were almost monochromatic. Later, when she began to use strong colours, it was like something falling from heaven – a wonderful balance of colour within tone.’1

Crombie’s work is represented in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia.

1 Peggie Crombie, (exhibition catalogue), Jim Alexander Gallery, Melbourne 1983.