We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

🛈 Find out what you need to know before visiting


(Portrait of a boy)

circa 1916


Tempe Manning


1896 – 1960

  • Details

    Other Title
    Young man
    circa 1916
    Media category
    Materials used
    oil on hardboard
    30.5 x 22.5 cm sight; 43.0 x 35.5 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Signed l.r., brown oil "TEMPE MANNING.". Not dated.

    Purchased with funds provided by the David George Wilson Bequest 2013
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Estate of Tempe Manning

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Tempe Manning

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Tempe Manning was one of a number of artists whose works and views had larger influence on the directions of modern Sydney art during the interwar period than has thus far been widely recognised. She was one of a number of talented artists who studied under Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo at his atelier in Sydney from the mid 1910s. Along with her more celebrated peers, including Grace Cossington Smith, Roland Wakelin, Norah Simpson and Roy De Maistre, her work contributed to the first significant phase of modernist culture in this country.

    Manning travelled to Europe and studied in Paris in 1912 prior to joining Dattilo-Rubbo's atelier on her return in 1914. While her training in Paris followed academic traditions, Manning's extant Sydney works demonstrate how she had moved away from academism to experimentation in colour painting by 1916. The same year, a reviewer of the Royal Art Society exhibition noted her work and claimed that Manning had "joined the pointillists ….and the results are certainly amazing".

    With its palette of intensified, high-keyed colour, flattened backdrop and divisionist brushwork, '(Portrait of boy)' is indicative of the experimental paintings Manning was producing by the late 1910s. The work's speckled, opalescent palette is suggestive of the idiosyncratic approach to Manning's investigations into modern colour relations, through which she offered a distinct inflection to the colour practices propelling the artistic transformation of Sydney's early modernist milieu.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 3 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 5 publications

    • Christie's, Australia Pty. Ltd. (Compilator), Australian, International and Contemporary Paintings, South Yarra, Aug 2004, 163 (colour illus.). caption (lot no. 219) and image (lot no. 218) incorrectly matched

    • Jasmin Dessmann and Deborah Edwards, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'The lost moderns: Tempe Manning, Niel A Gren and Norah Simpson', pg. 38-41, Sydney, 2013, 38, 39 (colour illus.), 314.

    • Deutscher-Menzies Fine Art (Compilator), Australian and international fine art, Melbourne, Nov 2002, 158 (colour illus.). lot no. 239; estimated price $2,000-3,000

    • Lesley Harding, Art and Australia (Vol. 36, No. 4), 'Tempe Manning: the lost modernist', pg. 532-537, Sydney, 1999, 536 (illus.).

    • Denise Mimmocchi, Look, 'New to the collection: building up our holding of Sydney moderns', pg. 15-17, Sydney, Dec 2014-Jan 2015, 17 (colour illus.).

Other works by Tempe Manning