Nora Heysen: A Portrait
Publisher: Fremantle Press
Clarity, drive and focus are the hallmarks of both the subject and author of this excellent biography of Nora Heysen. Anne-Louise Willoughby has presented a superbly researched and thoroughly readable work. The book conveys Heysen’s capabilities as a painter who grasped the opportunities offered as a war artist and who had a deep understanding of the craft of painting. Heysen was a working painter, making her own way in the world even as she carried the uneasy knowledge that the Heysen name opened many career doors. The path for any woman wishing to work was never easy, and the harsh criticisms, astonishing to us 80 years later, were a daily endurance for most women of that time. Carefully linked with social and political history, interspersed with moments of comedy, Willoughby’s book provides a window and lasting record of a valuable life.