Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Farewell to a gracious lady

Still-life with self-portrait
Viennese artist Judy Cassab died last week, on Tuesday 3 November. She was an extraordinarily generous person, a trait which shone through her art and her life in Australia. 


Trove collates a lot of detail from a range of cultural heritage services about Ms Cassab's contribution to the country which adopted her, it is easy to find her story there. Not only snapshots of her work, but her thoughts are also captured for posterity in an interview from the National Library's collection, and as part of a joint initiative with the National Gallery

It is inspiring to hear the soft clear voice explaining the ineluctable force which motivated her painting. 

In 1999, the National Library decided to develop a new web service, which became known as PictureAustralia. An aggregation of the digitised images from art and photographic collections around Australia, PictureAustralia exemplified the value of collaboration nationally. Using simple web technologies, the creation of virtual galleries from physically separated collections became possible.

Internal discussions then ensued to decide how best to promote and raise awareness of the service. The National Library already held some of the works of Judy Cassab including portraits. It was important to illustrate the breadth of Australia's old and new collections, and Ms Cassab's contribution was an easy choice to feature. In addition, her generosity was already well known. 

So an approach to use her self-portrait as a postcard was made. The response was instant - "please go ahead and may I have several copies to send to friends?" The Library was only too happy to oblige, and this postcard was one of the reasons for the success which PictureAustralia became.

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