Smith & Singer

Rupert Bunny’s Golden Summer

November 11, 2015

A private moment between mistress and maid is will be auctioned by Sotheby’s Australia on 24 November at the InterContinental Sydney.  Rupert Bunny’s exquisite Hair Drying (circa 1908) (estimate $280,000-380,000, lot 29) belongs to the artist’s most highly acclaimed and revered group of paintings that depict women engaged in various leisurely pastimes.  

‘Rupert Bunny combined his fascination with the feminine form with an Impressionist style and his paintings capture the intimacy of daily life.  In his renowned compositions, collectively titled ‘Days of Nights of August’, his women pose in summer sunshine or balmy evening, engaged in idle conversation, listening to music, in complete emotional and intellectual repose, or suspension.  Hair Drying remains one of Rupert Bunny’s most significant paintings from this series remaining in private hands.’ Said Geoffrey Smith, Chairman of Sotheby's Australia.

The most striking subjects of Bunny’s were those that depicted the strong, warm sunlight filtering through the boldly striped blinds drawn to the edge of wooden balcony railing.  A contemporary review in 1911 by The Sydney Mail singled out Hair Drying: ‘Another splendid effect is produced in the study “The Hair Drying”.  A lady in a white dress and red morning gown is sitting on a white chair, against the back of which her head leans, whilst the maid … is engaged in combing her mistress’s hair.  The balcony is shaded from the sun by a screen and by the red and white broadly-striped blind, which is frequently repeated through the artist’s paintings.  The whole effect is culminated in a few small brilliant rays piercing through and flickering on the lady’s neck and dress.’

>View e-Catalogue entry for Rupert Bunny's Hair Drying (circa 1908)

>View Important Australian Art e-Catalogue

RUPERT BUNNY 1867-1947
Hair Drying (circa 1908)
oil on canvas
65.1 x 91 cm
Estimate $280,000-380,000


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