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Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

In line with decisions made by the National Cabinet as communicated by the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the Art Gallery of New South Wales is currently closed but will reopen to the public on 1 June. The Gallery will be observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of all visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the State. More information

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Jude Rae

Title
Sarah Peirse as Miss Docker in Patrick White's 'A cheery soul'
Medium
oil on canvas
Dimensions
183 x 137.5 cm
Further information

In 2014, Jude Rae was an Archibald finalist with a portrait of actor Sarah Peirse. Their friendship began almost a decade ago when Peirse bought one of Rae’s drawings.

‘I have seen Sarah in a variety of theatre productions, each time witnessing the mysterious transformation that occurs when she is working. I suggested the portrait after seeing her as Miss Docker in the Sydney Theatre Company production of Patrick White’s A cheery soul last year. I was interested in painting an actor “in character” because it raises all sorts of questions about identity, authenticity and the representation of the self,’ says Rae.

‘The play follows Miss Docker’s rejection by a society that has lost faith in the church and is riven by fear. She is both awful and pathetic: an ageing, damaged woman orphaned as a child and newly homeless – all issues that have particular currency today.’ The painting takes the form of a homage to Velázquez’s Portrait of Pablo de Valladolid (c1635), a buffoon or court jester to Philip IV of Spain.

Born in Sydney in 1956, Rae studied Fine Art (History) at Sydney University. She won the Bulgari Art Award in 2016. In 1983 she was the subject of an Archibald Prize portrait painted by her father David Rae.

Highly commended in the Archibald Prize 2019

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