Guy Grey-Smith1916 - 1981 Pianist - Nora Crisp 1950
- oil on canvas
The pianist Nora Crisp was born in Bunbury in the south-west of Western Australia, studied in Perth, Melbourne and London, and settled back in Perth in the early 1930s. Working under her maiden name of Coalstad, she played solo recitals and chamber music, appeared as a concerto soloist with orchestra, and gave live broadcast concerts for the ABC. In Nora’s time, the ABC had taken over the radio station 6WF, which had been founded by Westralian Farmers (later Wesfarmers) in 1924.
In 1950, Guy Grey-Smith, the great Western Australian modernist, painted Nora at the piano. Guy and his wife Helen (whose work is also in the Wesfarmers collection) loved fine music and attended ABC concerts, so it is no surprise Guy knew Nora. It is a striking image: stillness and dynamism; rigour and vibrancy, as the angles and planes of colour interact to set the picture in motion.
Text by Robyn Johnston