Rare Stencil Art by Margaret Preston

Margaret Preston Stencil | Aboriginal Fishing Basket and Fish 1956 | Day Fine Art

Aboriginal Fishing Basket and Fish


40 x 39.5 cm

Colour Stencil on black paper

Signed and dated lower right.


A rare stencil produced during Margaret Preston’s investigation into creating an Australian national art identity, incorporating indigenous motifs and her printmaking skills.

This piece has been created by placing a piece of netting over the cut paper stencil before applying the paint. After the netting was removed it left a fine black pattern over the composition.

On page 32 of Rose Peel’s Margaret Prestons: a Material Girl, Peel explores the Stencil making process of Preston, recounting the technique’s history through French and Japanese methods of stencilling. By printing on black paper and stippling colour through the stencils with a short bristle brush, Preston was able to create “complex overpainted circular areas of colour in complete contrast to the smoother application of gouache in multiple-stencil pochoir prints, for instance, like those associated with Art Nouveau and Art Deco.”

The edition of the piece is unknown, but it is likely that this is the only version of this stencil work in existence.



Society of Artists exhibition, May 1956, number 33, price 16gns

Lorraine Diggins Gallery Melbourne 1986

Reproduced in The prints of Margaret Preston : a catalogue raisonné / Roger Butler 1987 | Page 293

The prints of Margaret Preston : a catalogue raisonné / Roger Butler 2005 National Gallery Australia publication | number 396 |page 325