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A lady in blue



Hugh Ramsay


25 May 1877 – 05 Mar 1906

Artist profile

  • Details

    Other Titles
    Portrait of a lady
    Lady in blue. Portrait of Mr and Mrs James McDonald
    The lady in blue (Mr and Mrs J S MacDonald)
    Place where the work was made
    Paris France
    Media category
    Materials used
    oil on canvas
    172.0 x 112.0 cm stretcher; 171.0 x 110.8 cm sight; 200.0 x 139.8 x 7.0 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Signed l.l., brown oil "Hugh Ramsay". Not dated.
    Signed verso on canvas, black oil "HUGH RAMSAY/ ...".

    Presented by the family of Hugh Ramsay 1943
    Grand Courts
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Hugh Ramsay

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    'A lady in blue' was painted by Australian expatriate artist Hugh Ramsay while he was studying in Paris between 1901 and 1902. It depicts fellow Australian student JS MacDonald with his American fiancée Maud Keller in the studio-apartment MacDonald and Ramsay shared at Montparnasse.

    Keller is portrayed standing in profile wearing a striking blue dress, while her beau poses casually in the background. The book and violin located in the bottom right-hand corner allude to the musical and literary interests of the artist and his subjects. Yet we should not read too much into Ramsay’s intriguing juxtaposition of still life and portraiture, as he often emphasised aesthetics over narrative content in his works. This approach reveals the influence of American expatriate artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler's belief in 'art for art's sake'.

    Ramsay was proud of 'A lady blue', describing it as the 'best thing I've done' in a letter to his sister Madge in April 1902.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 10 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 8 publications

Other works by Hugh Ramsay

See all 7 works