Trained at the Royal Academy schools in London and Académie Julian in Paris, Gordon Coutts arrived in Melbourne and took up studies at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School. He met Tom Roberts there, whose influence is reflected in this portrait of a young woman seated in the waiting room of a wayside station in the bush. The model, in fact, posed inside a studio, with the background painted around her afterwards.
This popular painting is the artist's most esteemed Australian work. The femininity of the sitter and her fashionable attire were trademarks of portrait and genre styles at the time.
oil on canvas
90.2 x 59.7 cm stretcher; 119.8 x 89 x 8cm frame
Signature & date
Signed l.l., "Gordon Coutts". Not dated.
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Seventeenth Annual Exhibition of the Art Society of New South Wales (1896), Society Rooms, Union Chambers, Sydney, Oct 1896 -
A retrospective exhibition of Australian painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Sep 1953–25 Oct 1953
Paint on the tracks: Australian artists and the railway, S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Rocks, 22 Apr 1994–29 May 1994
For Auld Lang Syne: images of Scottish Australia from First Fleet to Federation, Art Gallery of Ballarat, Ballarat, 12 Apr 2014–27 Jul 2014
Referenced in 16 publications
Gavin Fry, Paint on the tracks: Australian artists and the railway, 'Introduction', pg. 7-10, Sydney, 1994, 28 (colour illus.), 29, 48. cat.no. 7
Alison Inglis, For Auld Lang Syne: images of Scottish Australia from First Fleet to Federation, 'Patronage and plaid: Scottish-Australian artists and patrons of art in the colonial period', pg. 275-309, Ballarat, 2014, 292 (colour illus.), 293.
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Painting and Sculpture', pg. 102-181, Sydney, 1999, 123 (colour illus.).
Parade: The story of fashion in Australia, 'Victorian Virtue', pg. 19-37, Pymble, 1998, 36 (colour illus.), 37.
Ma Brillante Carrière, Australia, 1995, cover (illus.).
My brilliant career. Read by Miranda Otto, Artarmon, 1994, cover (colour illus.).
The Australian star, 'Art Society's Show', pg. 3, Sydney, 12 Aug 1897, 3. Review of the Art Society of NSW's Annual Exhibition.
Australian Town and Country Journal, 'Art Society's spring exhibition', pg. 16, Sydney, 17 Oct 1896, 16. Review of 'Waiting', cat.no. 50
Daily telegraph, 'The Art Society's Exhibition', pg. 3, Sydney, 17 Oct 1896, 3 (illus.). Review of the Art Society of NSW's Annual Exhibition, with illustration of 'Waiting'.
Sydney mail and New South Wales advertiser, 'The Art Society's Show', pg. 808-810, Sydney, 17 Oct 1896, 808, 809 (illus.). Review of the Art Society of NSW's Annual Exhibition, with illustration of 'Waiting'.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Art Society's exhibition', pg. 7, Sydney, 10 Oct 1896, 7. Review of the Art Society of NSW's Annual Exhibition.
The Australian star, Sydney, 10 Oct 1896.
Table talk, 'Victorian Artists' Exhibition, pg. 6, Melbourne, 20 Sep 1895, 6. Review of the 1895 Victorian Artists' Exhibition.
The Argus, 'Victorian art. The annual winter exhibition', pg. 6, Melbourne, 20 Sep 1895, 6.
Unknown, The complete book of great Australian women: thirty-six women who changed the course of Australia, Pymble, 2003, back cover (colour illus., detail).
My brilliant career. Read by Miranda Otto, Ultimo, circa 2004, cover (colour illus.). 3-CD audio book (abridged) of 'My brilliant career', read by Miranda Otto.