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Elaine Haxton (1909 - 1999)

Lot 73: ELAINE HAXTON , Australian 1909-1999 STILL LIFE - "TWO JUGS" Oil on board

Sotheby's

November 26, 2007
Sydney, Australia

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Description

Signed lower left; signed and inscribed with title on label on the reverse Oil on board

Dimensions

50.9 by 60 cm

Provenance

Christie's, Melbourne, 4 April 1995, lot 77
Private collection, Sydney; purchased from the above

Notes

Elaine Haxton's Still Life - "Two Jugs" has the look and feel of a set design, with a touch of the surreal to enliven a subject said to be without movement. It presents a visual dialogue between placement within the fictive stage setting and the flatness of a backdrop, a happy interchange between illusion and the limitations imposed by the picture plane. To say it looks staged is a complementary invitation to the audience to join the artist in some of the mysteries of the theatre. Like a canvas, the stage is the base or board on which actor/artists perform in the creation of their imitations of life. To find such associations in Haxton's work is not unexpected given her training and interests. At one time she worked as a theatre designer and stage manager, and in 1945 studied at the New York School of Theatre Design. She was also a muralist, again a quality strongly felt in the handling of the background wall, surfaces worked and textured, a sense of the flat and solid as a foil to the roundness of the jugs. The brushes with their bristles of varied colours declare her craft, to be manipulated in the conjuring up of images of decorative delectation. The same feeling of the theatre set permeates Haxton's diptych East Side, West Side, New York (1946, National Gallery of Victoria). When she was awarded the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery's 1946 Crouch Prize with her painting Mother and Child (1945), judge Louis McCubbin described it as 'a most beautiful arrangement with something of the feeling of the early Italian masters together with a charming conception of form and colour.' υ1 Much the same could be said of this painting. Haxton was not without her own charm and beauty, as seen in her 1941 portrait by William Dobell. 1. Gael Ramsay & Gordon Morrison, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery: Highlights, Ballarat, 2006, p. 102

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Australian Paintings

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Sotheby's
November 26, 2007, 12:00 PM EST

Sydney, Australia

For Sale from Sotheby's