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Australian art

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Janet Alderson


1937 -


In a letter to the Curator at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Renee Free, dated 9 December 1967, the artist wrote from London:

"Regarding the 'Manolete' painting, the working collages and drawings were done in Cordoba, Spain, and the finished painting in London, as it was easier to transport from there.

A quick biography of Manolete might help me to clarify my ideas for the picture.

He died in 1947 aged 30 at the end of what was to be his retiring year. He was killed killing the bull. He was the greatest matador of his era, some experts say of all time. A shy, serious quiet man, completely dedicated to his art and for the Spanish public he epitomised their post war need for a noble figure of dignity.

Born in the cradle of bull-flighting, Cordoba, and had the typical rag to riches history of the classical bullfighter.

I have tried to paint the passion and tragedy of his art - which was an integral part of his life and also to catch something of the ideal Spanish characters by the use of fairly stark forms and little tonal variation. I then had to make these move without monotony and when I read James Gleeson who said they did so 'with the sombre insistence of a dirge' I felt I had suceeded for one person at least!"


Place where the work was made

London England



Media category


Materials used

synthetic polymer paint on canvas


168.5 x 168.5 cm stretcher

Signature & date

Signed and dated c.r., brown synthetic polymer paint "Alderson 66".


Purchased 1967


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Janet Alderson

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 4 publications


Gallery A (Sydney), Paintings by Janet Alderson, Sydney, 1967. 13; titled 'Manolete'

Walter Kommer (Editor), The Australian, Sydney, 15 Apr 1967.

Spain'., The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Influenced, Sydney, 16 Mar 1967. NOTE: Review of exhibition held at Gallery A.

1967 Acquisitions, Sydney, 1967, 9. 1