Margaret Cilento Biography

Margaret Cilento




Margaret Cilento (born Phyllis Margaret Cilento), painter, printmaker, illustrator and designer, was born in Sydney, Australia on December 23, 1923. She grew up in Brisbane but moved to Sidney in 1943. She studied at Goldsmith College, London; Central School Art and Design, London; Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris; and East Sydney Technical College.

In 1944, she returned to Brisbane to work in the war effort creating camouflage and she joined the Half Dozen Group of Artists based there. The following year she traveled to the United States to join her parents, Sir Raphael and Lady Phyllis Cilento. She studied under Rufino Tamayo at the Brooklyn Museum Art School. In 1949, Cilento studied at Stanley William Hayter's Atelier 17 workshop in New York, and participated in Hayter's group exhibition at Laurel Gallery, where her print Fall of Icarus was chosen for publication in the New York Times.

Cilento received a French government scholarship in 1949 and moved to Paris where she attended the Ecole des Beaux Arts. She also continued her studies with Hayter who had returned to Paris in 1950.  In 1952 she returned to Australia to direct the studio workshop at St. Maria's at Kangaroo Point. Cilentro designed several sets for theatrical and operatic productions in Brisbane. She married Geoffrey Maslen in 1963 and they returned to Brisbane to raise their family.

Phyllis Margaret Cilento-Maslen died in Melbourne, Australia on November 21, 2006. She was one of six leading Brisbane women artists to be included in the 2007 exhibition Breaking New Ground: Brisbane Women Artists of the Mid-Twentieth Century mounted at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.