Scotland 1882 – France 1963
not titled [Female figure]
Capri, Campania, Napoli province, Isola di Capri, Italy
Materials & Technique: drawings, watercolours, watercolour Support: paper
Female figure a sensuous and beautifully spare modernist work, was painted while Mercer was living on the Italian island of Capri. After leaving her husband in France, she mingled here with the fashionable lesbian set – epitomised in Compton Mackenzie’s 1927 satire Extraordinary women.Mercer flaunted her sexual ambiguity and the subject of this study may have been one of her lovers. The subtle wash of the flesh and the dishevelled state of the drapery as it falls loosely over the body heightens the sensuality of this beautiful work.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra