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Record Image
Conder, Charles Edward (English, b.1868, d.1909)
Waiting
oil on canvas
598 x 495 mm sight size
3-1966
Collection of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Purchased 1966 with funds from the Dunedin Public Art Gallery Society.
Conder was an Englishman who went to Sydney when he was fifteen and fell under the spell of the artist Girolamo Nerli. Conder had 46 works in the first Australian Impressionist Exhibition in 1889 and the following year, at the age of 22, he left for Paris.
In Australia he was an advanced painter of landscape and a charming figure painter, but in Paris, in the 1890s, he began to associate with Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and concentrated increasingly on studies of women. Waiting has no date, but is probably from this period. He used a very free kind of Impressionist style with strong overtones of Rococo painting, the highly decorative and suggestive manner of the late 18th century.
The art historian William Rothenstein said Conder’s ‘sense of the physical beauty of women, of the grace of their movements, of feminine radiance, was unique – in his period at least’. The sharp whites in the dress pull the figure forward, intimating depth within the painting, yet the horizontal line on the floor, possibly the edge of a rug, tips the whole composition towards the viewer. It is as though the artist is experimenting with a combination of techniques that isolate the subject and cause her to appear to be waiting.

not on view

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