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Art students



E Phillips Fox

Australia, France

12 Mar 1865 - 08 Oct 1915


'Art students' was set at the Melbourne Art School in Bourke Street, which E Phillips Fox co-founded with Tudor St George Tucker when Fox returned from Europe in 1892. It was considered a groundbreaking work for its unconventional vertical, cropped composition and its frank naturalism. The
informal poses and paint-splattered smocks of its female students and the messy realism of its littered floor were considered ‘unfeminine’ when the work was first exhibited in Melbourne in 1895.

'Art students' is a vivid demonstration of Fox’s compositional and colouristic skills. Its grand-scale informality also presents an alternative to the heroic ‘national’ and masculine subjects of Australian painting in the 1890s.


Place where the work was made

Melbourne Victoria Australia



Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


182.9 x 114.3 cm stretcher; 219.0 x 148.0 x 16.0 cm frame; 181.0 x 110.0 cm sight edge

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.l. corner, black oil "E.Phillips Fox / 95".


Purchased 1943


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

E Phillips Fox

Artist profile

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 14 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 34 publications


Jane Clark, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'Rupert Bunny / E. Phillips Fox', pg. 20-31, Sydney, 2002, 22, 30 (colour illus.), 31, 143, 147.

Anne Gérard, Look, 'Oz arts: our painters in the Parsi Salons', pg. 37-39, Sydney, Dec 2006-Jan 2007, 39.

Angela Goddard, Art, love and life: Ethel Carrick and E Phillips Fox, 'An artistic marriage', pg. 17-26, Brisbane, 2011, 17, 18 (colour illus.), 104 (colour illus.), 154.

Sasha Grishin, Art Monthly Australia, 'Art, love and life: Ethel Carrick and E. Phillips Fox', pg. 80-81, Canberra, Aug 2011, 80 (colour illus.), 81.

Sasha Grishin, Australian art: a history, 'Australian expatriates of the Edwardian period in France', pg. 148-159, Carlton, 2013, 152 (colour illus.), 153, 548, 566. plate no. 16.3

Pat Hoffie, Brought to Light: Australian Art 1850–1965 from the Queensland Art Gallery collection, 'Restless Mind, Still Lives. A.M.E. Bale Leisure moments', pg. 84-87, Brisbane, 1998, 86, 87 (illus.).

Bruce James, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Milking works for a moment in the sun', pg. 13, Sydney, 03 Apr 2002, 13. Review of 'Parallel Visions' exhibition

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Painting and Sculpture', pg. 102-181, Sydney, 1999, 120 (colour illus.).

Ursula Prunster, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Home and abroad', pg. 73-74, Sydney, 2000, 78, 79 (colour illus.), 300.

Bernard Smith, 100 years of Australian painting, 'Foreword', pg. 2-4, Sydney, 1948, 6. 12

Bridget Whitelaw, Golden summers: Heidelberg and beyond, 'Melbourne's answer in the 90s - "Charterisville"', pg. 171-174, Melbourne, 1985, 178, 179 (colour illus.).

Ruth Zubans, Australian art and architecture: essays presented to Bernard Smith, 'Emanuel Phillips Fox: St Ives and the impact of British art, 1890-1892', pg. 134-149, Melbourne, 1980, 142, 144, 248.

Ruth Zubans, Painted women - Australian artists in Europe at the turn of the century, 'Mr and Mrs E Phillips Fox', pg. 15-18, Western Australia, 1998, 15-16.

E. Phillips Fox: address book, Melbourne, 1994, (illus.).

Two hundred years of Australian painting: nature, people and art in the southern continent, Tokyo, 1992, 107 (colour illus.). 56

Completing the Picture: Women artists and the Heidelberg era, Hawthorn East, 1992, 20 (illus.).

Australian painting 1788-1990, 'Leviticus 1913-32', pg. 167-204, South Melbourne, 1991, 148, 169 (colour illus.), 560. 96

National life and landscape - Australian painting 1900-1940, Sydney, 1990, 57.

Sunlight and shadow: Australian impressionist painters 1880-1900, 'Painters and Places', pg. 6-24 Chapter one, Rushcutters Bay, 1989, 6 (colour illus.), 16 (colour illus.), 17. plate no. 7. The image appears in detail.

Perils of the studio: inside the artistic affairs of bohemian Melbourne, 'Studio visitors', pg. 137-163, North Melbourne, 2007, 140 (colour illus.). figure 128

Place, taste and tradition: a study of Australian art since 1788, 'Impressionism in Australia', pg. 112-145, South Melbourne, 1979, 139 (illus.), 140. plate no. 50

100 masterpieces of Australian painting, Adelaide, 1973, 82, 83 (colour illus.). plate no. 38

Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 83 (colour illus.).

Masterpieces of Australian painting, Melbourne, 1969, 86, 87 (colour illus.). plate no. 28

The Adelaide Festival of Arts 1962: Special exhibitions at the National Gallery of South Australia, 'Australian Painting: Colonial, Impressionist, Contemporary', Adelaide, 1962. not paginated, 69

A gallery of Australian art, Sydney, 1954, (illus.). plate no. 16

Jubilee exhibition of Australian art, Sydney, 1951, 36. 79

A study of Australian art, Sydney, 1949, (illus.). plate no. 23

Catalogue of an Exhibition of Oil Paintings by the Late E. Phillips Fox and of Ethel Carrick (Mrs. E. Phillips Fox), Sydney, 1925. 5; priced 300 guineas

Pictures by the late E. Phillips Fox, Melbourne, 1916, n.p. (illus.) as 'The art students'. 30

Art of Australia. Vol 1: Exploration to Federation, 'Individual and national feeling', pg. 545-610, Sydney, 2008, 595 (colour illus.), 596, 606.

Australian art, 'What should Australian artists paint? 1885-1900', pg. 79-96, Oxford, 2001, 78 (colour illus., detail), 92 (colour illus.). plate no. 51

1901: Australian life at federation: an illustrated chronicle, 'A changing society', pg. 88-103, Sydney, 2001, 92, 93 (colour illus.).

Roy and Matilda - The Golden Locket, Canterbury, 1994, (colour illus.).