Vida Lahey

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Name: Vida Lahey

Epoch: Early 20th Century (the 'Long Early Twentieth Century')

Grouping Field: Peformance, Visual Art, and Music

Location Grouping: Individual's Work Location

Map Coordinates: 27°28'21.9"S 153°01'06.9"E

Years At Location: 1908-1968

One Historical Setting: Miss Frances Vida Lahey, Queensland Art Gallery [TBA] (1940)

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Information

Vida Lahey was a prominent Australian artist, associated with the (Royal) Queensland Art Society from 1908. With Daphne Mayo, Lahey was a co-founder of the Queensland Art Fund.

Impact On Brisbane Society

Vida Lahey learned painting from Godfrey Rivers at Brisbane Technical College, then studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne, in 1905-1906, and in 1909 under Bernard Hall and Frederick McCubbin. Lahey had a philosophy of the universal language of art which she explained in the 1940 University of Queensland Duhig Lecture. Margaret Maynard notes that Lahey “believed strongly in the dignity of labour and herself laid much of the brickwork around her St Lucia home, designed by her brother Romeo”. The observation might indicate how Lahey integrated the local rugged individual mythology (see entry on Will Morris) with a traditional sentimentality which sought to “to combat the ugliness and monotony of the modern world through imagination and a pleasing environment.” Maynard stated that Lahey’s “main contribution lies in her role as teacher and public spokeswoman in a State not noted for its interest in culture.” While that is very truth, it was also true that Brisbane Society did think it had a great cultural valuing but that valuing was greatly masked from the ideological thought that underpinned it.

Citations

Margaret Maynard, ‘Lahey, Frances Vida (1882–1968)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/lahey-frances-vida-7008/text12185, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 4 July 2019.

De Vries, Susanna. Strength of Purpose: Australian Women of Achievement from Federation to the Mid-20th Century, HarperCollins, Pymble, N.S.W, 1998.

Unnamed. (ed.) Five Queensland Women Artists, [Lahey, Vida, 1882-1968], Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Qld, 1975.

Image Citation

Artist Vida Lahey, Ca. 1924. State Library of Queensland

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