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Australian art

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Boat building, Etaples

circa 1902


Rupert Bunny

Australia, France

29 Sep 1864 - 25 May 1947


Rupert Bunny became one of the most successful artists of his generation, exhibiting to great acclaim in Europe and Australia throughout his lifetime. He remains best known as the creator of grand, sumptuous paintings of Parisian life in the late 19th century, but his oeuvre reflects his rich milieu and the rapidly changing styles of the belle époque. He had an extraordinary ability to assimilate diverse influences – from masters of the European tradition such as Rubens and Velázquez, to contemporaries like Gauguin and Bonnard – into an ever-evolving vision. Above all, Bunny was a splendid colourist, from the subdued pastel hues of his early dream-like pastorals to the vibrant Fauve-inspired paintings of the 1920s. Bunny spent most of his life living in France, returning to his native Melbourne after the death of his French wife in 1933.

Étaples was particularly popular with artists and its art colony attracted a number of painters to the area at the turn of the 20th century. Although broadly international, the colony was made up mainly of English-speakers from North America, Australasia and the British Isles, with up to 30 Australians. The colony had its heyday between 1880 and 1914, after which it was disrupted by World War I.


Place where the work was made

Étaples-sur-Mer France


circa 1902

Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


54.5 x 65.4 cm stretcher; 82.2 x 93.0 x 6.0 cm frame

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Gift of Philip Bacon 2015. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Rupert Bunny

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 2 publications


Philip Bacon Galleries, Rupert C.W. Bunny 1864-1946, Brisbane, 2000, 9 (colour illus.); 36. Illustrated and listed in index.

David Thomas, Rupert Bunny, East Melbourne, 1970, 115. Listed in catalogue of Bunny's works only. Not mentioned elsewhere in book.