The art of George James Coates, 1869-1930 and Dora Meeson Coates, 1869-1955
AffiliationDept. of Fine Arts
Document TypeMasters Research thesis
CitationsScott, M. (1992). The art of George James Coates, 1869-1930 and Dora Meeson Coates, 1869-1955. Masters Research thesis, Dept. of Fine Arts, The University of Melbourne.
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© 1992 Myra Scott
Edwardian England was projected in paintings by artists such as John Singer Sargent by an image of a leisured and wealthy society of aristocratic and industrialist classes. More recent scholarship has brought to the surface contradictions inherent in this image. The working classes suffered great poverty and grinding hardship which the rising forces of socialism and trade union activity were fighting to overcome. Positioned between the two extremes, the middle class, including intellectuals in the fields of art, music, academia, theatre and literature, was active and vital. After their early beginnings in Melbourne, Australia, and study in Paris, George James Coates and his wife, Dora Meeson Coates, moved progressively into this intellectual milieu, developing a wide artistic and cultural network of Anglo-Australian colleagues and acquaintances. Coates became a leader amongst the Australian expatriate artists who were seeking to take their place amongst international artists as collectively representative of the art of their new Australian nation. The emergence of this new expatriate group, and its recognition in Britain, was a first in Australia's history. Coates and Meeson were leaders in the formation of this group which sought to establish an Australian artistic identity within the broader British cultural community. By their artistic achievements at the major exhibiting venues, membership of societies, and acceptance in the wider community, the expatriates created a strong Australian presence which became a firm base for the successive generations of Australian artists in their ongoing attempts to achieve a significant place in international art. Accepted individually, but seeking recognition as representative of their nation, the Australians held group exhibitions limited to Australian artists but international in the scope of their art. Their ambitious pursuit of international acclaim, individually and as a group, was happening at the time when Australia also was making its debut in London with regard to social, cultural and commercial activities. The successes of its artists within the international community contributed to the widening acceptance of the young nation upon the world stage. Although Coates failed to achieve fame as a major artist, he was a significant and leading contributor to the overall achievements of these Australians. (From Introduction)
KeywordsGeorge James Coates (1869-1930); Dora Meeson (1869-1955)
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