Tag Archives: Kathleen O‘Connor

Here she is, beautiful Kate…

It gives me great pleasure to share the cover of Kathleen O’Connor of Paris, forthcoming from Fremantle Press in November.

KOOP front cover final

And here’s the back-cover blurb:

What does it mean to live a life in pursuit of art?

In 1906, Kathleen O’Connor left conservative Perth, where her famous father’s life had ended in tragedy. She had her sights set on a career in thrilling, bohemian Paris.

More than a century later, novelist Amanda Curtin faces her own questions, of life and of art, as she embarks on a journey in Kate’s footsteps.

Part biography, part travel narrative, this is the story of an artist in a foreign land who, with limited resources and despite the impacts of war and loss, worked and exhibited in Paris for over forty years. Kate’s distinctive figure paintings, portraits and still lifes, highly prized today, form an inseparable part of the telling.

I look forward to introducing you to Kate in November. 🙂

12 Comments

Filed under Kathleen O’Connor of Paris

An unexpected collaboration…

I have found inspiration for several of my short fiction pieces in the lives of artists and their work. Kathleen (Kate) O’Connor is one who continues to fascinate me, not only because of the beautiful paintings and decorative arts she produced in the first half of the twentieth century, but because of what I have read of her spirit and the life this independent, passionate, forward-thinking female artist from a conservative colonial outpost forged for herself among the impressionists of Paris.

My story ‘Paris bled into the Indian Ocean’ (in the collection Inherited, UWA Publishing, 2011) intertwines a contemporary story of a poet who has lost her words with a famous story about Kate O’Connor’s return from Paris to provincial Perth in 1948. Here is an extract:

Customs officials at Fremantle declared that Kathleen O’Connor’s paintings, her life’s work, were dutiable goods. She harangued and argued. She appealed. She called on family connections, played every card in her hand. But Customs, immune to threat or persuasion, levied the sum of thirty shillings per painting, to be paid before they would release them. Thirty pieces of silver.

And so the story goes that Kathleen O’Connor, spent with stamping her Parisian feet, stood on the wharf at Fremantle while her crates were unpacked and hundreds of canvases were lifted out, one by one, deciding which of them she could afford to keep. And that, in a fit of pique, she tossed the rest over the side of the wharf, one by one. And that Paris bled into the Indian Ocean.

Fremantle-based artist Jo Darvall has also been fascinated by O’Connor’s work since moving to Western Australia from Melbourne, and has been keen to celebrate O’Connor’s importance in Western Australia’s—and Australia’s—art history. Entirely independently,  Jo became intrigued with the same story about O’Connor’s return to Perth and conceived of an exhibition reimagining those lost artworks.

After a few coincidences that resulted in her reading my story, Jo has named her exhibition ‘Paris bled into the Indian Ocean’. It will run from 23 October to 21 November 2015 at the Merenda Contemporary Gallery, 84 High Street, Fremantle.

picisto-20151012094252-504074

The exhibition launch is on Friday 23 October, and I’m hoping that it will be a great success for Jo. Please come along—the paintings are hauntingly beautiful and you have to view them in person to fully appreciate their stunning textural qualities. I will be doing a brief reading from the story, and I’m thrilled and honoured to be part of the celebration.

12033037_1236982736316939_5589489906346279888_nAs an extension of the exhibition, Jo will be presenting an additional event on 31 October, 2pm–4.30pm: a panel discussion entitled ‘Kathleen O’Connor’s Fremantle’, City of Fremantle Library, followed by a cultural walking tour, concluding with refreshments at Merenda Contemporary. The event is free but bookings are essential.

Exhibition Facebook event page
Article by William Yeoman

4 Comments

Filed under Inherited