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Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

In line with decisions made by the National Cabinet as communicated by the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the Art Gallery of New South Wales is currently closed but will reopen to the public on 1 June. The Gallery will be observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of all visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the State. More information




Australian art

Western art

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Still life of flowers and fruit


Frances Ellis

New Zealand

1900 - 1971


Born in New Zealand, Frances Ellis studied in London at the Central School in London in the mid-1920s, where Bernard Meninsky's teaching had the most impact on her. In the mid 1930s she came to Australia to study under Dattilo-Rubbo, further cementing her adherence to French post-impressionism, especially the work of Cezanne. She took over management of the Dattilo-Rubbo School between 1941 and 1949.

Dattilo-Rubbo set up his school shortly after he arrived in Australia from Italy in1897. It remained an important influence on artists in Sydney until the 1950s. Dattilo-Rubbo valued drawing above all else and particularly admired Cezanne, Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh. His enthusiasm for them can also be seen in the work of three of his best-known early students - Roland Wakelin, Grace Cossington Smith and Roy De Maistre.

© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2006


Media category


Materials used

watercolour on paper


60.9 x 50.6 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed l.r., "FRANCES D. ELLIS.". Not dated.


Bequest of Earle Backen 2006


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Frances Ellis

Works in the collection