• Offered by School of Art and Design
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Art History
  • Areas of interest Visual Arts

This course will focus on the modern period in Australian art from the early twentieth century to the 1960s. It deals with a wide range of issues centring on modernity and modernism and will place Australian art within an international context. Key debates around nationalism, provincialism and gender will be considered in depth. Topics will include responses to war, the contribution of/migr/artists, the relationship between art and politics and the role of women artists. A particular emphasis of the course will be on photographic practice as an emblem of modernity; the work of photographers Max Dupain, Olive Cotton and Wolfgang Sievers will be closely examined.

The course will employ contemporary methodological approaches to illuminate this crucial period in Australian art and cultural life.

Classes will be taught primarily at the National Gallery of Australia and will be based on the NGA collection, using works on display as well as works in storage. Students will be expected to engage directly with works of art in different media including painting, sculpture, printmaking, the decorative arts as well as photography. The course complements 'Contemporary Australian art', also offered by the Art Theory Workshop, which deals with the period from the 1970s to the present.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of important aspects of modernist art in Australia
  2. Relate developments in modernist art to contemporary visual culture
  3. Analyse and interpret works of Australian modernist art in different media
  4. Present written and oral arguments about modernist art in Australia.

Indicative Assessment

1000 word written essay (25%) [Learning Outcomes 1-4]

2500 word essay (45%) [Learning Outcomes 1-4]

8 minute tutorial presentation (20%) [Learning Outcomes 1-4]

Participation (10%) [Learning Outcomes 1-4]


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130 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials; and b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 36 units of ANU courses towards a degree, or with the permission of the convenor. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed ARTV2054.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $2820
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $4320
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9675 27 Jul 2020 03 Aug 2020 31 Aug 2020 30 Oct 2020 In Person N/A

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