painter, theatre and fabric designer, was born in Antwerp, Belgium. She came to Sydney in youth and later studied art under Dattilo Rubbo . She was in Paris in 1935-38, studying and exhibiting at the Salon des Tuileries. Back at Sydney, she exhibited with the Contemporary Art Society and the NSW Society of Artists; she also designed sets for the Kirsova Ballet. In 1946-47 she designed for the Silk and Textile Printers Modernage Fabric range. Silk and Textile Printers Pty Ltd, founded by Orlando and Claudio Alcorso and Paul Sonnino, had begun production of screen-printed dress fabrics in 1939 at Sydney’s Rushcutters Bay, but this became virtually dormant during World War II. When production resumed in 1946 a small range of textiles designed by Australian artists was trialled, including Danciger’s Voyage within a Dream (1946, NGA: gift of the artist 1982). Danciger said of the design: 'I was primarily concerned with strong form, colour and movement. As it was to be printed on silk, it was necessary to keep in mind the lightness and delicacy generally associated with that material.’

The success of the 1946 experiment led to a more ambitious range of artists’ fabrics in 1947 – the year the factory moved to Hobart. Thirty-three 'fine’ artists designed the 1947 'Modernage Fabrics’. As well as Danciger, who produced Sea Fantasy (a sample is in the Powerhouse Museum), they included Jean Bellette ( a sample of her fabric is in AGNSW), Mary Curtis, Sheila Grey, Mary Lewis , Muriel Medworth , Margaret Preston , Suzanne Rogers and Betty Skowronski. Male artist-designers included Russell Drysdale , William Dobell , Douglas Annand , James Cant , Adrian Feint , Donald Friend , James Gleeson and Justin O’Brien. Silk and Textiles continued production in Tasmania until 1969 when the firm was taken over by Dunlop.

Along with many of the other 1946-47 designs, Sea Fantasy was illustrated in the company’s book, A New Approach to Textile Designing by a Group of Australian Artists (Ure Smith, Sydney, 1947, cat.34). A statement from the artist accompanied it: 'In this design, intended for a heavy furnishing material suitable for curtains, my wish has been to achieve a decorative effect that would be the dominant note in a modern room. For this city, where so many windows have a view of the sea, the motif of the design and the brilliant colours would make an appropriate frame.’

Eugene Goossens opened the 'Art in Industry’ exhibition of these 'Modernage’ fabrics at the Australia Hotel on 1 September 1947 and was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald as saying that 'when the “not too distant” opera house was built in Sydney to be the home of the orchestra, ballet, singers, and theatre group, a tremendous scope would be provided for Australian fabric designers and artists who knew about decor and theatre costume.’ The adventurous character of many of the Modernage designs was notable. As another of the artists in the scheme, William Constable , pointed out in the Daily Telegraph : 'One of the most curious things I’ve found about designing is that a great many people who shy at abstract or surrealist art on canvas, will buy and go on buying abstract or surrealist art in textiles or carpets.’

Callaway, Anita
Kerr, Joan
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