Sunday, 30 May 2010


“We are not only less reasonable and less decent in our dreams... we are also more intelligent, wiser and capable of better judgment when we are asleep than when we are awake.” - Erich Fromm

We went to the Art Gallery today where there is a special exhibition of Australian artist Rupert Bunny’s works. Rupert Bunny (1864-1947), was one of the most successful expatriate artists of his generation. It is probably true that no other Australian achieved the critical acclaim nor enjoyed the artistic affiliations, which Bunny experienced in Paris in the decades around the turn of the century. He was a gifted colourist and a fine draughtsman, with a strong interest in rhythmic composition. He drew his inspiration from a range of late century tendencies, most particularly Symbolism with its affinity to the life of the imagination.

Bunny painted very individual statements from such influences, in imaginative tableaux which range from magnificent Salon-endorsed mythological fancies, to vibrant decorative allegories and the Belle Epoque paintings of Parisian leisure for which he is most widely celebrated. The exhibition we saw was “Rupert Bunny: Artist in Paris”, at the Ian Potter Centre of the National Gallery of Victoria at Federation Square. It traces Bunny’s extraordinary life and art, from Melbourne to Paris and back again. It is an exhibition organised by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and is the first major exhibition of Bunny’s work since 1991 and includes over one hundred paintings, drawings and monotypes, some of which have never been seen before in Australia.

Illustrated above, is “A summer morning” c. 1897. It is a delightful pastel-coloured painting with dream-like atmospheric figures, so beloved of the artist. The quasi-mythological composition of women and swans could be well placed in antiquity, or just yesterday. The sheerness of the fabrics and the transparency of the water play with the luminosity of the ivory-like flesh, while the aqua tones of the water complement well the pinkness of the dresses. Such dreamy scenes established the reputation of the artist, while his voluptuous female figures earned the patronage of society gentlemen who delighted in this genre for their dark dens.


  1. Oh I really love this painting Nic!!!!
    It's beautiful!!!!

  2. Well, I must go and find more paintings of this artist. I had not heard of him before your blog.
    How could any parent name their child "Rupert Bunny"? Sounds like a Beatrix Potter story :-)