Le repose

Born Melbourne, Australia 1865, died Melbourne 1915


Emanuel Phillips Fox first studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne (1881–86) before moving to Paris in 1887 to attend the Académie Julian and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Between 1887–90 he travelled in Europe and England visiting plein air painting communities and studying the works of Spanish painter Diego Velázquez (1599–1660). While in Paris he exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Français and the Old Salon.

Returning to Melbourne in 1890, Phillips Fox together with Tudor St. George Tucker opened the Melbourne Art School in competition with the National Gallery School, imparting their first-hand knowledge of impressionism to students.

Phillips Fox’s style illustrated a deep understanding of French impressionism and post-impressionism. Women became his preferred subject, and he produced numerous works depicting idealised elegant figures.

Le repose, dated between 1909 and 1911 is a typical example of his nudes of the time. The painting was exhibited at the Salon, Paris in 1911. The model is most likely Edith Anderson, a favoured sitter who posed several times for Phillips Fox, and who is distinguished by her striking red hair.

Phillips Fox was the subject of a major retrospective at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne in 2004, and his work is represented in all Australian state and regional galleries including the National Gallery of Australia.