Important Australian + International Fine Art
10 April 2019


(1872 – 1952)

oil on board

24.0 x 32.5 cm

signed lower left: CARRICK FOX
bears inscription on old label verso: Flower Market

$25,000 – 35,000
Sold for $67,100 (inc. BP) in Auction 57 - 10 April 2019, Sydney

Private collection, Melbourne, acquired directly from the artist
Thence by descent
Private collection, Melbourne
Thence by descent
Private collection, Melbourne

Catalogue text

Colour, light and movement characterize the art of Ethel Carrick Fox, distinguished from her husband, Emanuel Phillips Fox’s work by its greater boldness and freedom of execution. The vivacity of her brushwork and more dynamic composition is readily apparent in a comparison of their paintings of the same motif, Carrick’s Sur La Plage, 1910 (Deutscher and Hackett, 18 April 1918, lot 29) and Fox’s (On The Sand), c.1910 (in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra). Also, Fox was more inclined towards the finished composition, Carrick exhibiting works overflowing with all the atmosphere and immediacy of the sketch. Hers is the art of the sunlit passing moment, of women and children relaxing and at play. The Luxembourg Gardens in Paris inspired many moments of belle époque splendour, extended to the fashionable beach resorts of Trouville and Royan. Yet, flower markets remained a favourite offering the ideal opportunity to paint cavalcades of colour peopled with activity over a longer period of time. Notable among these are Flower Market (France), c.1910 (McClelland Gallery + Sculpture Park, Victoria) and two major works more related to our painting on offer, In the Nice Flower Market, c.1926, (National Gallery of Australia, Canberra) and Flower Vendors, Nice, c.1930, (Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth). Another, Le Marché aux Fleurs, c.1928, is in the collection Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen.

As elegance and the fashionable promenade gave way to bargaining and busy squares, Carrick used the arcaded grandeur of the Nice market to introduce an important element of pictorial stability, a solid backdrop to the theatre of life at play. Sunlight is also at play to focus attention on bursts of colour, contrasted with the shade of tree and umbrella to shelter the shopper, and extend the mood of the moment engendered by the dash of paint. In Flower Market, Nice, c.1926, while umbrellas remain unchanged, fashion, in the length of the ladies’ dresses, suggests a date in the twenties. Colour harmonies of reds and mauves are subtle, highlighted against the pale cream of the fine, arched background.

A number of French flower market paintings were shown in Carrick’s Sydney exhibition of 1913. One major work, Flower Market, was proudly catalogued as exhibited in the ‘Salon, Paris 1910’.1 Carrick exhibited in all the major Paris salons, especially the modernist Salon d’Automne of which she was a sociétaire. A few years before, Paris art critic Henry Breuil praised her work in the Salon d’Automne with the apt comparison: ‘Mlle Ethel Carrick fires the enthusiasm of art lovers. One might compare her paintings to bouquets of flowers’.2

1. Exhibition of Pictures by Mrs. E. Phillips Fox (Ethel Carrick), Anthony Hordern’s Fine Art Gallery, Sydney, 6 – 22 November 1913, cat. 6
2. Breuil, H., ‘Promenade travers les Salons de Salon d’Automne’, Les Tendances Nouvelles, Paris, vol. 30, no. 39, December 1908, quoted in Goddard, A., Art, Love and Life: Ethel Carrick and E. Phillips Fox, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 2011, p. 24