- Other Title
- E.L. Montefiore 1898, 2nd President of Trustees 1889-92
- Media category
- Materials used
- 61.9 x 51.3 x 30.0 cm weight - 140kg
- Signature & date
Signed and dated verso, incised "THEO. COWAN SCULP 1898".
- Purchased 1899
- Grand Courts
- Accession number
- Artist information
Works in the collection
Theo Cowan modelled this commemorative portrait of E.L. Montefiore, one the founders of the New South Wales Academy of Art (which became the Art Gallery of New South Wales), from photographs. Montefiore served as the gallery’s first director in the last two years of his life, from 1892-94.
Cowan is regarded as the first Australian-born professional woman sculptor. Studying at Sydney Technical College (1887-88) under the French artist Lucien Henry, she was advised her to continue her studies abroad. In 1889 she went to Florence but faced discrimination from the authorities at the Accademia di Belle Arti, as a woman and an Australian. Instead, she studied with private tutors and was influenced by the work of fellow women sculptors, including Harriet Hosmer, who were role models for her own professional career. She set up her own studio in London in 1901 before returning to Australia in 1913 where she continued her career in both sculpture and painting.
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Australian sculpture 1890-1919, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Jan 1987–22 Feb 1987
Presence and absence: portrait sculpture in Australia, National Portrait Gallery [Old Parliament House], Canberra, 22 Aug 2003–16 Nov 2003
Dora Ohlfsen and the facade commission, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 12 Oct 2019–08 Mar 2020
Grand Courts Collection Rehang, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Nov 2021–2025
Referenced in 4 publications
Deborah Edwards, Presence & absence: portrait sculpture in Australia, Canberra, 2003, 77. cat.no. 6
Deborah Edwards., Australian sculpture 1890-1919, 'Australian sculpture 1890-1919', Sydney, 1987, (illus.). no catalogue numbers, not paginated
Peter Haynes (Compilator), Famous people: a selective who's who from works in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1981, 10 (illus.).
Roslyn Russell, National Library of Australia news, 'Eliezer Montefiore from Barbados to Sydney', pg. 11-14, Canberra, Dec 2008, 12, 14 (colour illus.). NOTE: Photo of AGNSW exterior on page 14.