Life models were an expense that Hugh Ramsay, like many expatriate artists, could not often afford outside their classes at the most popular Académies; Delécluze, Colarossi or Julian. To quench his voracious desire to paint and experiment at every opportunity, Ramsay often depicted himself.
This is one of over twenty-five self-portraits painted by Ramsay during a period of three years. His bravura brush work and bold use of white paint reveal his growing admiration for London-based, American painter John Singer Sargent’s sumptuous society portraits painted during the late nineteenth century and into the Edwardian era.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2013
From: Miriam kelly, Capital & Country: The Federation Years 1900 – 1913, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2013