Art Gallery Society honours Margaret Olley
by a significant purchase
Emanuel Phillips Fox, ‘Nasturtiums’ c 1912
In honour of Margaret Olley, the Art Gallery Society of New South
Wales, on behalf of the Art Gallery of NSW, has acquired an
outstanding painting by Emanuel Phillips Fox, entitled Nasturtiums.
Emanuel Phillips Fox is renowned as the author of many of the most
sumptuous, cosmopolitan and splendidly coloured images painted by
Australian artists in Europe at the turn of the 20th century.
Emanuel Phillips Fox Nasturtiums c 1912
Nasturtiums belongs to a creative period, from around 1909 to 1914,
and is acknowledged as one of the finest in E Phillips Fox’s oeuvre.
It is the most significant in a series of women-in-garden paintings
which Phillips Fox created over 1911–12. Many of these exhibited his
use of reflected and dappled light as decorative patterning, and
were painted in-situ in the small central courtyard garden of the
Fox studio-apartment on Boulevard Arago, Montparnasse, Paris.
‘Nasturtiums is a superb addition to the Gallery’s collection and
joins major paintings from the Edwardian and belle époque era by
expatriates Rupert Bunny, John Russell, Ethel Carrick Fox and
Phillips Fox himself. Margaret Olley would have loved this painting
as Phillips Fox was one of her favourite artists,’ said Edmund
Capon, director, Art Gallery of New South Wales.
‘The acquisition of this painting, in memory of Margaret Olley – who
loved Fox’s works – is the Society’s and its members’ contribution
to honouring both these great Australian artists,’ said John
Masters, President, Art Gallery Society of New South Wales.
The painting was featured in the recent major exhibition Art Love &
Life: Ethel Carrick and E Phillips Fox at the Queensland Art Gallery
and was a gift to the subject of the painting, in whose family it
The model for Nasturtiums was the young Australian artist Edith
Anderson who stayed with Ethel Carrick and Emanuel Phillips Fox over
1912 and became perhaps Fox’s favourite model. Certainly many of the
artist’s paintings of women in gardens in these years carry Edith’s
signature red hair. Phillips Fox introduced Edith Anderson to his
artist-neighbour, Penleigh Boyd, whom she subsequently married.
Their son Robin Boyd, an eventual owner of the painting, became one
of Australia’s most renowned architects.