Important Australian + International Fine Art
28 April 2010

Emanuel Phillips Fox

(1865 - 1915)

oil on wood panel

27.0 x 35.5 cm

bears inscription verso: Parisian Boulevard By Phillips Fox / Lent by Lionel Lindsay...

$35,000 - 45,000
Sold for $43,200 (inc. BP) in Auction 14 - 28 April 2010, Melbourne

Lionel Lindsay, Sydney (label attached verso)
Private collection, New South Wales
Private collection, Sydney


Loan Collection of Australian Art, National Gallery of New South Wales, 1918 (label attached verso)
Artarmon Galleries, Sydney (label attached verso)

Catalogue text

In the spring of 1905, Emanuel Phillips Fox married Ethel Carrick in London, before moving to Paris to live on the Boulevard Arago, Montparnasse. The Luxembourg Gardens were nearby, as also their friends Rupert and Jeanne Bunny, their close friendship having a fruitful influence on each other's art. Paris was the centre of European art and culture. The time was the celebrated la belle Epoque when feminine fashion achieved unparalled heights of elegance especially in the splendour of its marvellous dresses and fabulous hats. To stroll in the gardens or promenade along the leafy boulevards was a particular pleasure for those who led a life of ease. Captured by Fox in the sparkling colours of spring, he used the broad avenue of Parisian Boulevard to invite viewers to enter this gracious world of beauty and leisure, bathed in a dappled sunlight of gentle appeal. Now more Impressionist in style, he found his subjects in the changing times of day, as in Misty Morning on the Seine, c.1906, in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, and especially the Whistlerian inclined Twilight on the Seine, c.1906, in the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Fox's biographer Ruth Zubans noted that 'Paris was a rich source of inspiration for Fox. Continued interest in colour and light brought him into a more thoroughgoing dialogue with French Impressionist art, particularly the 1860s and 70s works of Renoir and Monet, by then widely accessible.'1

The similarity between Parisian Boulevard and the National Gallery of Victoria's larger Rue Royale suggests that the former is a highly developed, independent, though preparatory work for the larger painting. Both are painted with a freedom of technique suited to Impressionism, the larger painting closely following Parisian Boulevard. The main differences are found in the time of day and in detail. In the more shaded Rue Royale, for example, a figure in a long white dress and a tall gaslight lamp have been added to the foreground. Fox repeated this practice in similar sized paintings of about 1906 - Notre Dame, Paris and the larger (Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris), the latter again in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria. Together they make up a small group of precious paintings of the time when the fresh impact and sparkle of Paris, especially in Parisian Boulevard, can still be seen in his work.

1. Zubans, R., E. Phillips Fox: His Life and Art, Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Press, 1995, p. 123