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Nancy Borlase: 24 cool facts

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By Gwylym Owen

Nancy Wilmot Borlase AM (24 March 1914 – 11 September 2006) was a New Zealand-born Australian artist, known for her landscape-based abstract paintings and portraits, and as an art critic and commentator. Her enactment is displayed in the National Gallery of Australia and other major galleries.

Born in Taihape, New Zealand, in 1914, Borlase was 16 behind she contracted that art was her calling and shifted to Christchurch, where she studied at Canterbury College School of Art under Francis Shurrock.

Borlase moved to Australia in 1937, at age 22, where she studied activity drawing and sculpture at East Sydney Technical College under Frank Medworth and Lynden Dadswell (1937–1940)and along with life drawing under Rah Fizelle and Grace Crowley past switching to painting. In 1939 she joined the Contemporary Art Society, NSW branch and was an lithe committee zealot of the Society amid 1952 and 1970.

She lived for a while neighboring Sidney Nolan in Melbourne, was befriended by his benefactor John Reed, and worked as an artist’s model. She married trade bond figure Laurie Short in 1941.

Borlase started as a figurative painter before disturbing to abstract impressionism. Her discharge duty was influenced by a testing tour to New York in 1956, where she encountered Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko. Other breakdown tours included tours to the USA 1960; Europe 1956, 1969, 1972, 1973; China 1976 (as one of three art writers).

She worked as an art critic at The Bulletin, Sydney between 1972 and 1973 and the Sydney Morning Herald from 1973.

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