Landscape and orchard

Born Surrey, England 1888, died Melbourne 1961


Eveline Syme completed an education diploma at the University of Melbourne (1914), before travelling abroad for her art training. She studied at La Grande Chaumiére, Paris (1922–23), the Grosvenor School of Modern Art, London, under Ian McNab and Claude Flight (1929), and at the André Lhote School, Paris (1930).

Her experience at the Grosvenor and Lhote schools and exposure to European art during the 1920s and 1930s confirmed Syme’s commitment to modern art. She received her B.A. and M.A. at Cambridge University (1930), when the tradition of only conferring degrees to male students was abolished.

Returning to Australia in 1932, she became a founding member of the Melbourne Contemporary Group. In 1934 she produced her seminal essay, Women and Art.

Although regarded primarily as a watercolour and print artist, Syme also painted in oils throughout her career. She exhibited regularly with the Victorian Artists Society, the Arts and Crafts Society, the Melbourne Society of Women Painters and Sculptors, and the Independent Group of Artists. One of her many prominent positions was on the Executive Committee of the National Gallery Society of Victoria (1948–53).

In 1992 Syme’s work was part of the survey exhibition Classical Modernism: The George Bell Circle, National Gallery of Victoria. She is represented in the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, National Gallery of Victoria, the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery and many regional galleries.