Help buy Nasturtiums
Help the Art Gallery of NSW’s purchase of Emanuel Phillips Fox’s Nasturtiums – a major acquisition in memory of Margaret Olley
Firstly and most importantly Margaret Olley loved the works of Ethel Carrick and Emanuel Phillips Fox – she bought works by these artists. In thinking about an acquisition in memory of ‘Oll, I thought, should the Society pursue this painting, then having it on display is an important consideration… it is a very beautiful picture and would frequently be on display. It is without doubt a wonderful acquisition and a perfect memorial to Margaret Olley.
Director, Art Gallery of NSW
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.
Nasturtiums belongs to a period of production, from around 1909 to 1914, acknowledged as the finest in E Phillips Fox’s oeuvre. It was a time when the artist developed a more eclectic and decorative approach.
Indeed Nasturtiums is the most significant in a series of women-in-garden paintings which Phillips Fox created over 1911-12. Many of these exhibited Phillips Fox’s 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 Argo. Nasturtiums was probably painted around September 1912. It not only exhibits the flawless craftsmanship characteristic of Fox’s art but the seamless synthesis of Parisian reality and artistic design embodied in his greatest paintings.
Nasturtiums is an entirely appropriate painting for the Gallery to acquire in honour of the late Margaret Olley. In Phillips Fox’s combination of the poetic and the pragmatic, the decorative and the real, Margaret Olley’s own aesthetic preoccupations find their counterpart.
Senior Curator, Australian Art