Moya Dyring (1909 - 1967)

Moya Dyring was one of the first women artists to exhibit cubist painting in Melbourne.  Born in Coburg, Victoria in 1909, her parents moved to Brighton in 1920 and she was educated at Firbank Girls Grammer School.  She graduated from Melbourne’s conservative National Gallery School in 1932, but the influence of the George Bell School close by, and her future husband Sam Atyeo, a fellow student at the NGV School, encouraged her to experiment with modernism.   After a successful solo exhibition at Riddell Gallery in Melbourne in 1937, she moved to Paris, finally setting up her own home after divorcing Atyeo in 1950.  She was constantly on the move, travelling and painting around the French countryside, sometimes on her own but often with visiting artist friends, such as Margaret Olley and David Strachan.  Her personal style evolved from her early love of Cezanne and the Fauves but her distinct signature is of a moment caught in time.  She was a renowned hostess and cook, holding a regular monthly party for expatriate friends and any visiting Aussie who happened to be around.  Articles about her home, cooking and outrageous hats appeared regularly in the Australian press.  She travelled to Australia every three years between 1950 and 1963 to exhibit and sell her work in Australia.  After her death in 1967 her friends, including Mary Alice Evatt, Russell Drysdale and Bernard Smith, raised money to establish an apartment in Paris for visiting Australian artists.  Two of her earliest works, Melanctha, 1934, a small cubist work; and Portrait of Sunday Reed, 1934; are part of the permanent collection at Heide, The Museum of Modern Art, Victoria.   She is also represented in the Australian National Gallery, Canberra. (Information supplied courtesy of Gay Cuthbert)