Publication Details

Boyde, MJ, 'Art and Politics: Mas Evatt and the Evatt Collection', 4 August - 26 September 2006, Flinders University City Gallery, Adelaide. An illustrated version of the essay is also available here.


Mary Alice Evatt hung her large collection of paintings in every room of her Canberra house, including the kitchen. "And why not?" she said to a journalist in the 1960s, "It's the room in which a woman probably spends most of her time." It was in her daughter's kitchen in Leura, more than thirty years later, that I first admired a painting hanging on the wall above the workbench; it was Mary Alice's Woman in red. Mary Alice was born at Ottumwa, Iowa, USA in 1898 to Samuel and Alice Maud ('Nene') Sheffer. In the same year they moved to New Zealand because of her father's work. When Mary Alice was one year old the family moved to Melbourne, Australia where her brother Melbourne ('Mel') was born. Four years later they moved to Mosman, Sydney where they lived in 'Wapello', a grand house with views to the Heads.