Head study of a bearded man
George James Coates
09 Aug 1869 - 27 Jul 1930
George Coates was a fine painter of portraits and figure compositions who studied in Melbourne at the National Gallery School and was awarded the school's travelling art scholarship. He left for Paris in 1897 with the painter David Davies (1864-1939). Coates was an official war artist in London in World War I and remained in England for much of his working life. He returned to Melbourne for a joint exhibition with his wife, the painter Dora Meeson (1869-1955), in 1921. The Australian War Memorial has an important collection of Coates’ work. He exhibited with the Victorian Artists Society in Melbourne, where he met J B Kilgour, a member of the Victorian Art Society and Cannibal Club in the 1890s and father of the artist J Noel Kilgour (1900-87), both whom owned this drawing.
The model is believed to have been a Russian musician in Melbourne in the 1890s. Lionel Lindsay also drew him, full length and in a cavalier's costume in Coate's studio in 1895.
Head study, bearded man
pencil, pen and sepia ink
25.2 x 19.5 cm sheet (irreg.)
Signature & date
Signed l.r., pencil "G Coates". Not dated.
Not on display
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Acquisitions 1962, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 10 Apr 1963–12 May 1963
The portrait and the nude: Australian drawings from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 18 Aug 1990–28 Oct 1990
19th century Australian watercolours, drawings & pastels, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Apr 2005–24 Jul 2005
Themes and Variations: Australian drawings from the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, Bathurst, 17 Oct 2008–30 Nov 2008
Referenced in 5 publications
Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, 'Australian images from the past: whether rarely seen or familiar, these works move and delight us', pg. 24-27, Sydney, Apr 2005, 27.
Look, Sydney, Apr 2012, 41 (colour illus.).
Unknown, Unknown and Unknown, 19th century Australian watercolours, drawing and pastels from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 2005, 85 (colour illus.).
The portrait and the nude: Australian drawings from the collection, Sydney, 1990. cat.no. 11
Unknown, 1962 Acquisitions, Sydney, 1962, 33. cat.no. 44