Church interior c.1941-42 (inscr. 1937)

Grace Cossington Smith played a leading role in the development of early twentieth-century art in Australia. Her striking paintings were potent symbols of modernity. Church interior holds a special place in Cossington Smith's oeuvre - it is one of a small but important group of works the artist made on religious themes. The painting also encapsulates the artist's concern with colour. She wrote:

'All form - landscape, interiors, still life, flowers, animals, people - ha[s] an inarticulate grace and beauty; painting to me is expressing this form in colour, colour vibrant with light - but containing this other, silent quality which is unconscious, and belongs to all things created.'

Made in the early 1940s, Church interior obliquely references World War Two and thus has secular, as well as sacred, significance - young men of enlistment age are entirely absent from the congregation.