Born Melbourne, Australia 1875, died Melbourne 1955
Alice Marian Ellen Bale’s early training as a painter was received from May Vale and Hugh Ramsey in Melbourne. She enrolled in the National Gallery School, Melbourne in 1895 where she studied under Bernard Hall and Frederick McCubbin. During her subsequent ten years as a student she won nine awards and exhibited regularly.
In 1894 she gained membership into the Victorian Artists Society, later serving on their council, and was the editor of the Society’s journal from 1918–1919. She was a founding member and the first secretary of Twenty Melbourne Painters, a group formed by supporters of Max Meldrum’s tonal theory. In 1920 Bale wrote of the group that, ‘we desire nothing but sincerity and a humble study of nature, from which alone all art, whether decorative or realistic, draws any enduring life.’
Although Bale painted landscapes and portraits, it was for her paintings of flowers that she became highly regarded. Several of her works were shown abroad including a flower study which was exhibited in London in 1923, and portraits which were displayed at the Royal Academy, London (1933) and at the Old Paris Salon (1939).
After her death Bale left as a legacy her estate and a scholarship, the Alice Bale Art Award, for ‘the benefit of young, traditional painters’. Her work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, all major state galleries, and in many other public and private collections.