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Harold Abbott

(Australia, England 1906 – 08 Jun 1986)

Miss Jeanie Ranken
Media category
Materials used
oil on canvas

122.0 x 91.5 cm stretcher; 141.7 x 111.2 x 10.0 cm frame

Signature & date
Signed and dated l.l. corner, dark brown oil "ABBOTT '37".
Gift of Elinor and Fred Wrobel 1976
Accession number
© Estate of Harold Abbott
Not on display
Further information

This portrait of Miss Jeanie Ranken was runner up in the 1937 Archibald Prize, receiving the following praise from the Sydney Morning Herald art critic:

"... one of the younger artists has increased his scope and provided an impressive work. This is Harold Aboott's portrait of Miss Jeanie Ranken. The general effect is discriminating, not to say highly discreet. The figure has been displayed as an element in a piece of flat decoration. A parallel with well-known portraits by Whistler is unavoidable. But Mr Abbott's sense of colour is definitely his own. He uses his colours tenderly, yet with a keen sense of accent. The characteristic mien and appearance of the sitter, too, have been calmly and surely conveyed."

Visible on the wall behind the sitter is a small self portrait sketch of the artist painted in 1932 while Abbott was a student at the Royal Academy Schools, London. This self portait is now in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia.

Miss Ranken was a Sydney journalist. In 1939 she was awarded The Order of the British Empire - Member (Civil).

© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2005

This work was a finalist in the 1937 Archibald Prize and was acquired by the Gallery in 1976.

Bibliography (6)

Christine Dixon and Dinah Dysart, Counterclaims: presenting Australian art 1938-1941, Sydney, 1986, 44 (illus.). AAA1

Macquarie Galleries, Exhibition of paintings and drawings by Harold Abbott, Sydney, 1938. 10; titled 'Miss Jeanie Ranken'; price: 75 Guineas

Kenneth Wilkinson (Editor), Art in Australia [series 3, no. 71], Sydney, May 1938, 37 (illus.).

Elinor Wrobel, Harold Abbott 1906-1986: New England Regional Art Museum touring exhibition 1987-1988, Armidale, 1987, 6, 15. 8

Australian Academy of Art 1938, Sydney, 1938, 22. 184; titled 'Portrait of Miss Jeanie Ranken'

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Sydney morning herald, 'Archibald Prize winner: Normand H. Baker. Wynne Prize to Gruner', Sydney, 25 Feb 1938. Review of the Archibald and Wynne Prizes for 1937.

Exhibition history (5)

Wynne Art Prize, 1937, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Feb 1938–Mar 1938

Australian Academy of Art 1938, Vickery's Galleries, Sydney, 08 Apr 1938–29 Apr 1938

Exhibition of paintings and drawings by Harold Abbott (1938), Macquarie Galleries, Sydney, 09 Nov 1938–21 Nov 1938

Counterclaims: presenting Australian art 1938-1941, S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney, 17 May 1986–06 Jul 1986

Harold Abbott 1906-1986: