Born Hamburg, Germany 1909, arrived Australia 1910, died Melbourne 2000
Lina Bryans was a central figure in the mid-century Melbourne art world and played a significant role in creating an environment in which modernism could flourish. She came to painting through William ‘Jock’ Frater and also studied under George Bell (1948) and Mary Cockburn Mercer (1951). In 1953 she travelled to France to study at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière.
The Darebin Bridge House was a converted hotel that Bryans purchased in 1943. It became a significant gathering place with studios for artists and bohemians including her friend Ian Fairweather, who also lived there. Although considered an important figure in the Melbourne modernist scene of the 1930s and 1940s, according to her biographer Gillian Forwood, Bryans was unconcerned about modernist conventions.
Bryans is best known for her striking and bold landscapes but her portraits, many of which depict her friends, are now gaining greater recognition. She was a member of the Independent Group, and the Society of Women Painters and Sculptors. Her circle of friends included many artists and writers, who became known as the Meanjin group after the title of a journal of arts and literature in Melbourne.
In 1941 Bryan’s work was included in an exhibition of Australian art at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Her work was included in The Great Australian Art Exhibition 1788–1988, Art Gallery of South Australia and touring all state galleries (1988–89), and has also been the subject of survey exhibitions at the National Gallery of Victoria (1982 and 1992), and the University of Melbourne (1995).
Her work is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, most state galleries and many regional galleries.