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Australian art

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Chinese skirt



Agnes Goodsir

Australia, France

18 Jun 1864 - 11 Aug 1939


Portrait painter Agnes Goodsir’s early art training was undertaken in Victoria before she left to study in London and Paris from about 1908. She settled permanently in Paris in 1921 where she was part of the prominent lesbian milieu. Her companion Rachel Dunn is depicted in several of her paintings, including 'Chinese skirt'. Known as Cherry, Dunn is depicted in various personas and as a ‘type’ of Latin Quarter girl – the area in which they lived in Paris. Goodsir’s portraits of these bold and liberated women, sometimes portrayed smoking and wearing androgynous or masculine clothing, are in direct contrast to the stricter dress codes and societal norms of the earlier Victorian and Edwardian eras. In 'Chinese skirt' the designs on the skirt are used as a decorative patterning device within the painting, echoing the decorative arts objects in the room.




Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


72.7 x 73.0 cm stretcher; 98.6 x 79.8 x 4.5 cm frame :

0 - Whole, 90.7 x 71.5 cm, SIGHT DIMENSION

Signature & date

Signed l.l. corner, white oil "A.GOODSIR". Not dated.


Gift of the artist 1938

Accession number


Artist information

Agnes Goodsir

Works in the collection


Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 5 publications


Jude Adams, Barbara Hall and Jennifer Barber, Project 21: Women's images of women, Sydney, 1977, (illus.). 17; Collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales

Deborah Edwards, Daphne Wallace, Margo Neale, Victoria Lynn and Sandra Byron, Review: works by women from the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1995.

Karen Quinlan, In a picture land over the sea: Agnes Goodsir 1864-1939, 'Conclusion: Au revoir', pg.62, Bendigo, 1998, 2 (illus.). 73

Bernard William Smith, A catalogue of Australian oil paintings in the National Art Gallery of New South Wales 1875-1952, Sydney, 1953. 218

Author Unknown, Art and Australia 150 Years of Australian Art, Sydney, 1938.