Carnelian presents various aspects of my practice linked through a thematic use of colour. The walls have been painted with a shade named ‘Carnelian’, like that of the walls of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg in the country of Marc Chagall’s birth, in what was then the Russian Empire. Russia was a home to pre-war Jewish life that was the nucleus for Chagall’s creative spirit.

Many of the works in the exhibition take inspiration from Bella Chagall, a writer, also wife and muse of Chagall, whose life was shaped by the struggle of women in the twentieth century to have an independent creative and professional existence. To Chagall, she was the embodiment of Jewish Russia, and throughout their exile remained a living connection for his creative life. Bella’s memoir Burning Lights creates an insight into this lost world.’

— Yvette Coppersmith, 2023.

Carnelian is free to visit in the Museum’s ground floor galleries throughout the run of CHAGALL 09 June—10 December.

Image: Marie-Luise Skibbe, installation view of Carnelian by Yvette Coppersmith, Jewish Museum of Australia, 2023

Carnelian by Yvette Coppersmith is the Jewish Museum of Australia: Gandel Centre of Judaica’s inaugural Contemporary Australian Artist Commission. This exhibition has been made possible with the generous support of Daniel Besen and offers an expansion of our 2023 flagship exhibition, CHAGALL. This exhibition provides an opportunity of interpretation and response to Marc Chagall‘s story themes and practice.
Yvette Coppersmith is a painter specialising in both portraiture and abstraction. While her painting practice originally formed through portraiture in the realist tradition, over the last 20 years her visual language has developed and evolved to include still life and abstraction, with an interest in the interplay between these genres and the figure.

In 2018, Coppersmith was awarded the Archibald Prize for her painting Self Portrait, after George Lambert. This was the fifth year being included as a finalist, and she was the 10th woman to win the Prize.