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

Title

E.L. Montefiore

1898

Artist

Theo Cowan

Australia

1868 – 1949

  • Details

    Other Title
    E.L. Montefiore 1898, 2nd President of Trustees 1889-92
    Date
    1898
    Media category
    Sculpture
    Materials used
    marble
    Dimensions
    61.9 x 51.3 x 30.0 cm weight - 140kg
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated verso, incised "THEO. COWAN SCULP 1898".

    Credit
    Purchased 1899
    Location
    Grand Courts
    Accession number
    3267
    Copyright

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Theo Cowan

    Works in the collection

    2

    Share
  • About

    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.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 4 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 4 publications

Other works by Theo Cowan