National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
The Joseph Brown Collection. Presented through the NGV Foundation by Dr Joseph Brown AO OBE, Honorary Life Benefactor, 2004
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
This relatively small, freely painted work reflects Russell’s experience of Japanese art, placing the woman’s head, almost certainly his wife, Marianna, below and behind the dominant branch of flowering peonies. The artist’s intention is the creation of a richly coloured surface pattern, with space suppressed, and the figure almost incidental. The picture clearly relates to a group of works painted in 1887, with the head of the sitter set against a background pattern of flowers.
John Russell’s Peonies and head of a woman, 1887, came into the NGV collection in a reproduction of a Louis XIV corner and centre frame with false gold finish.
The decision to reframe the painting came in preparation for the exhibition, Australian Impressionists in France in 2013.
The re-framing was undertaken to re-introduce a relationship between the painting and frame that would reflect the choice of the artist and the period of the painting's production. It coincided with the re-framing of a number of paintings by John Peter Russell in the collection.
The overall appearance of many exhibitions of this period is a mixture of dark, white timber and gilded frames of varying moulding widths.
The final prototypes for the frame were determined through discussion and the frame eventually made and finished in the studios of the NGV.
The painting was cleaned and restored in 2013.
Reproduction - crafted by the NGV
timber and paint
REY & PERROT
Location of stamp
Right side reverse of canvas
COULEURS FINES & TOILES A PEINDRE/TABLEAUX/REY & PERROT/PARIS/51. Rue de la Rochefoucauld. 51