A View from Above: Roofscapes in Printmaking

Prints & Multiples. Leonard Joel Auctions
Prints & Multiples. Leonard Joel Auctions
LESBIA THORPE (1919-2009)
Terraced Houses, Royal Parade 1956
linocut 2/10
Sold for $2,125

Roofscapes and man-made infrastructures are commonly seen in artist’s studies, from the rural outback to the rooftops of the busy city. Here, we take a look at three Australian printmakers who have embraced this setting.

Lesbia Thorpe – Terraced Houses, Royal Parade 1956
Thorpe’s prints cover many subjects, however she often returns to landscapes and building facades. Terraced Houses, Royal Parade was completed upon her return to Melbourne after travelling in London. Drawing inspiration from the London exteriors, Thorpe was attracted to these iconic terrace houses seen across Royal Parade, many of them still standing. 

Experimenting with the balance of light and dark, she has used the darker blocks in this linocut to enhance the fronts of the terrace houses, the trees, and the figures. 

Prints & Multiples. Leonard Joel Auctions
ALAN SUMNER (1911-1994)
Grey Roofs, Prahran 1944-1946
screenprint, edition of 40
Sold for $1,375

Alan Sumner – Grey Roofs, Prahran 1944 – 46
Throughout Alan Sumner’s practice, he remained dedicated to the subject matter of landscapes with the incorporation of housing structures. The view pictured in Grey Roofs, Prahran could be seen through the drawing room window of Sumner’s studio on Chapel Street. Originally executed in pastel, Sumner took great care to keep the colours used in the screen-print true to the original.

Prints & Multiples. Leonard Joel Auctions
Melbourne Rooftops c.1938
Sold for $600

Lisette Kohlhagen – Melbourne Rooftops c. 1938
Born in South Australia like many other influential female artists, Kohlhagen was encouraged by fellow artist and close friend Thea Proctor to broaden her focus to printmaking. Using a number of different mediums, her subject matter featured flora and fauna, and extended to city scenes. The artist produced a number of linocut prints during her time in Melbourne in the late 1930s, all focused on the Melbourne cityscape. Melbourne Rooftops was created during this period, and she has used bold blocks of black ink to enhance the detail and shadowing of the familiar scene.

HANNAH RYAN / Art Specialist

Banner Image: ALAN SUMNER (1911-1994) Grey Roofs, Prahran 1944-1946, screenprint, edition of 40. Sold for $1,375

February 2022