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.
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
Shown in 4 exhibitions
150 years of Australian art (1938), National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 Jan 1938–25 Apr 1938
Project 21 - Womens images of women (1977), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Oct 1977–13 Nov 1977
Review: works by women from the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 08 Mar 1995–04 Jun 1995
In a picture land over the sea - Agnes Goodsir 1864-1939:
- Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria 09 May 1998–07 Jun 1998
- Mornington Peninsula Arts Centre 21 Jun 1998–02 Aug 1998
- Swan Hill Regional Gallery, Australia 08 Aug 1998–06 Sep 1998
- La Trobe Regional Gallery, Morwell 12 Sep 1998–18 Oct 1998
- Art Gallery of Hamilton, Ontario 31 Oct 1998–06 Dec 1998
- Riddoch Art Gallery, Mt Gambier 12 Dec 1998–17 Jan 1999
- Orange Regional Gallery, Orange 29 Jan 1999–28 Feb 1999
- Dubbo Regional Art Gallery, Dubbo 06 Mar 1999–18 Apr 1999
- Newcastle Art Gallery, Newcastle 24 Apr 1999–06 Jun 1999
Referenced in 5 publications
Jude Adams, Barbara Hall and Jennifer Barber, Project 21: Women's images of women, Sydney, 1977, (illus.). cat.no. 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.). cat.no. 73
Bernard William Smith, A catalogue of Australian oil paintings in the National Art Gallery of New South Wales 1875-1952, Sydney, 1953. cat.no. 218
Author Unknown, Art and Australia 150 Years of Australian Art, Sydney, 1938.