Born Enfield, England 1901, arrived Australia 1902, died Melbourne 1989


Encouraged by her parents, Sybil Craig followed an artistic path and painted from an early age. Between 1924 and 1931 she attended the National Gallery School, Melbourne, taking private lessons from George Bell. Works from this period show her technical prowess in the academic tonal style, but this was soon to change as her interest in modernism developed.

Through the influence of Sam Atyeo and fellow students including Peggy Crombie and Jessie Mackintosh, Craig began to introduce strong, flat colours, simple shapes and bold lines into her works. During the 1930s her compositions became increasingly eloquent, with an emphasis on design, pure colour and a naïve spontaneity.

A commissioned portrait of Craig was painted by Rupert Bunny after his return to Australia in 1933, leading to a friendship and mentorship in which Bunny and Craig often painted together. Craig was in the fortunate position of having financial security, allowing her to experiment freely. She exhibited regularly with the New Melbourne Art Club, the Melbourne Society of Women Painters and Sculptors, and from 1943 with the Twenty Melbourne Painters group.

In March 1945, Craig was appointed an official war artist by the Australian War Memorial and produced numerous works depicting women’s contributions to the war effort. Her work has been included in a number of major national exhibitions and is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Art Gallery of South Australia, the Australian War Memorial and regional Victorian galleries.