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


The model disrobing



Janet Cumbrae Stewart


23 Dec 1883 – 08 Dec 1960

  • Details

    Media categories
    Pastel , Drawing
    Materials used
    pastel on paper
    72.1 x 49.0 cm sight; 81.4 x 58.7 x 4.3 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated l.r. "Cumbrae Stewart/ 17".

    Purchased 1918
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Estate of Janet Cumbrae Stewart

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    Artist information
    Janet Cumbrae Stewart

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Art history overflows with depictions of nude women, usually made by men. But in the pastel drawings of Janet Cumbrae Stewart, the subject is given a distinctive treatment. Rather than mere models onto which light is cast, light appears to emanate from the flesh of her collaborators. Cumbrae Stewart captured the naked vitality of the bodies she knew best – the bodies of other women, including her lovers and closest friends. ‘The model disrobing’ is an image of thinly veiled eroticism, but one suffused with tenderness through gentle modulations of tone.

    Cumbrae Stewart was one of her generation’s most successful artists and her work was widely collected. During 17 years living in Europe, she met English aristocrat and bohemian Argemone Ffarrington Bellairs, known as ‘Bill’, and formed a lifelong partnership. At the outbreak of the Second World War, they moved to Australia and settled in Melbourne.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 6 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 3 publications

Other works by Janet Cumbrae Stewart