• Artist
    Christian Waller
  • Title
    Christmas card for Klytie Pate
  • Date of Production
    not dated
  • Medium
    linocut on paper
  • Dimensions
  • Credit Details
    Gift of Klytie Pate, 1976

Christian Waller: from Klytie Pate

Saturday, February 19, 2011 - Tuesday, October 04, 2011, -

Admission: Free

This selection of works from the Gallery's collection represents, for the most part, the generosity of her niece, noted ceramic artist Klytie Pate, who in the late 1970s donated important works to the Art Gallery of Ballarat and also made them available for the Gallery to purchase.  Klytie Pate died in June last year and her good will to the Art Gallery of Ballarat has continued with specific items bequeathed here in her will.  We were also given the opportunity to select from further items by Christian Waller in the estate.

Christian Waller (nee Yandell) was born in Castlemaine in 1894 and died in Melbourne in 1954.  After her family moved to Melbourne in 1910, Christian attended the National Gallery School studying under Fred McCubbin and Bernard Hall.  In 1915 she married fellow student Napier Waller.

During the 1920s Waller became a leading book illustrator and by 1928 had begun designing stained glass windows.  Her work was Art Deco in style and her interests in writing and lifestyle were theosophist.  Theosophy was a late 19th century philosophical movement that sought universal harmony.  In artistic expression the use of geometric forms seemed to exemplify this attribute.

The 1930s were her most productive years with prints, book designs and windows.  In 1932 she worked on two important print publications.  The Great Breath included seven separate linocut images with text and the illustrated fairytale for children, The Gates of Dawn, was prepared as a lithographic print publication but Waller did not proceed with it.  One of the most important items the gallery purchased from Klytie Pate is the only complete copy of The Gates of Dawn from 1932.  In the late 1970s Klytie, and husband William Pate, a graphic designer and artist, worked with Gryphon Books to create facsimiles of both of these publications for a new audience.  Loose sheets from the facsimile publication of The Gates of Dawn have come into the collection through Klytie Pate's estate and show what might have been possible if the work had proceeded.

Klytie Pate (nee Sclater) was born in Melbourne in 1912 but by 1925 was living with her aunt Christian Waller.  Both her aunt and uncle encouraged her to study art and in particular ceramics and sculpture; she studied with Ola Cohn also at RMIT and the National Gallery School.  Along with Marguerite Mahood and Reg Preston in the 1930s, she was a pioneer and innovator of ceramic art in Australia and she is represented in the Gallery's ceramic collection.

From a collection point of view, the addition of the items from the estate of Klytie Pate have helped to fill gaps in the Gallery's holdings of Christian Waller's oeuvre, as well as enhancing and giving depth to the collection.