Margaret Preston

Margaret Rose Preston (29 April 1875 – 28 May 1963) was an Australian painter and printmaker who is regarded as one of Australia's leading modernists of the early 20th century. In her quest to foster an Australian "national art", she was also one of the first non-Indigenous Australian artists to use Aboriginal motifs in her work.
Early in Preston's career—especially before her marriage—she taught art to help support herself and her family. She began taking on private students while she was still at Adelaide's School of Design, setting up her own studio in 1899. She later taught at St Peter's College and at Presbyterian Ladies' College, both in Adelaide. Among her students were such notable artists as Bessie Davidson, Gladys Reynell, and Stella Bowen, who referred to her as "a red-headed little firebrand of a woman, who was not only an excellent painter, but a most inspiring teacher". Gladys Reynell and Stella Bowen attended her classes in 1908.
Returning to Australia in 1907, Preston leased a studio with Bessie Davidson, and they put on a joint exhibition from which one of her paintings Onions (1905), was bought by the National Gallery of South Australia. In 1911, Preston was asked to paint a portrait of Catherine Spence for the National Gallery of South Australia. Preston went back to France (Paris and Brittany) in 1912 with Gladys Reynell, but when World War I broke out, they moved to Great Britain. There Preston studied pottery and the principles of Modernist design at Roger Fry's Omega Workshops. Later, she and Reynell taught pottery and basket-weaving as therapy for shell-shocked soldiers at the Seale Hayne Military Hospital in Devonshire. She exhibited her work in both London and Paris during this period.
The Prestons settled in the Sydney suburb of Mosman following their marriage in late December 1919. A harbor town, Mosman has long attracted artists and writers such as Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Harold Herbert, Dattilo Rubbo, Lloyd Rees, Nancy Borlase, and Ken Done. The Prestons would live in Mosman from 1920 to 1963, with the exception of seven years in the bush suburb of Berowra during the 1930s.
Between 1932 and 1939, the Prestons lived in the bush suburb of Berowra. While living in Berowra, the Preston's had two terrier dogs. It was here that Preston pursued most intensively her concern for the development of a national identity in Australian art. She turned to Australian Indigenous art as an inspiration, deploying Aboriginal design motifs and natural-pigment color schemes in her work. This tendency continued even after she left Berowra and can be seen in such later works such as The Brown Pot (1940) and Manly Pines (1953). Preston won a silver medal at the Exposition Internationale, Paris in 1937.