Charles Conder returned to England, the country of his birth, in 1890, having established himself as one of the founders of the Heidelberg School of Australian impressionist painting. In England and in France, he was regarded as a member of the fin de siecle bohemian set, including among his intimates Oscar Wilde, Aubrey Beardsley and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec.
In his late work Conder favoured a romantic aestheticism, earning most fame for his decorative watercolours on silk. As with a number of other late 19th-century artists in France, Conder created a number of fan designs on silk between 1893 and 1905, inspired by contemporary literature and referencing 18th century imagery, utilising a deliberately pale palette to suggest age. Some fans were mounted but others, like this one, were not.
© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2004
The awakening: Study for a fan
pencil, watercolour, gold paint, white highlights on silk fan
14.2 x 42.2 cm silk (irreg.)
Signature & date
Signed l.l., gold paint "CONDER.". Not dated.
Not on display
Shown in 6 exhibitions
Oil paintings and paintings on silk by Charles Conder (1900), Carfax & Co, London, 08 Dec 1900 -
Paintings and drawings from Agnew's London:
Nineteenth century Australian watercolours from the collection (1991), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Apr 1991–07 Jul 1991
Fin de Siècle: posters prints drawings from the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Jan 1994–13 Mar 1994
Australian watercolours 1880s to 1990s:
Charles Conder retrospective (2003-2004):
Referenced in 12 publications
Jean Campbell, Australian watercolour painters: 1780 to the present day, 'The 1880s and 1890s: Victoria and New South Wales', pg. 62-81, Sydney, 1989, 67 (colour illus.).
Bonny Cassidy., Tertangala, 'Charles Conder: a retrospective 1868-1909', Wollongong, Aug 2003. Exhibition review.
Renée Free, Fin de Siècle, Sydney, Jan 1994.
Ann Galbally, Craft arts international, 'Charles Conder 1868-1909', pg. 81-83, Sydney, 2003, 81 (colour illus.).
Ann Galbally, Charles Conder 1868-1909, 'Fans', pg. 159-161, Sydney, 2003, 167 (colour illus.), 195. cat.no. 85
Hendrik Kolenberg, Australian watercolours 1880s to 1990s, Sydney, 1995, 26 (colour illus.), 115. cat.no. 11
Hendrik Kolenberg, Nineteenth century Australian watercolours from the collection, Sydney, 1991. not paginated, cat.no. 17
John McDonald, Art of Australia. Vol 1: Exploration to Federation, ‘Individual and national feeling’, pg. 545-610, Sydney, 2008, 553-554. NOTE: General reference to Conder's fans.
Pamela Gerrish Nunn, Journal of design history (vol. 17, no. 3), 'Fine art and the fan 1860-1930', pg. 251-266, Oxford, 2004, 259 (illus.). figure no. 6
Public Programmes Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'K' is for Conder: Charles Conder retrospective, Sydney, 2003, (illus.). not paginated
Vivienne Webb, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Golden age', pg. 37-38, Sydney, 2000, 54 (colour illus.), 300.
Author Unknown, Paintings and drawings from Agnew's London, Sydney, Oct 1974. cat.no. 38