Important Australian + International Fine Art
4 May 2016


(1893 – 1964, British)

oil on canvas on board

34.0 x 44.5 cm

signed upper left: H James Gunn

$30,000 – 40,000
Sold for $34,160 (inc. BP) in Auction 42 - 4 May 2016, Melbourne

Paisnel Gallery, London
Private collection, Tasmania

Catalogue text

Herbert Gunn was born in Glasgow in 1893 and studied at the Glasgow School of Art followed
by the Edinburgh College of Art. After his studies in Edinburgh he enrolled at the Academie Julian under Jean-Paul Laurens in Paris from 1911 – 1914. He left Paris at the outbreak of war, received
a commission in the 10th Scottish Rifles and saw active service in France.

Following the war, in England he established himself as a leading painter of landscapes and portraits, exhibiting at the Royal Academy from 1923 as well as the Fine Art Society and the Royal Scottish Academy. From 1926 he decided to devote himself entirely to portraiture.

This more intimate nude subject from the 1930s, most likely depicts his second wife Pauline,
with pale skin starkly rendered in crisp clear outline against the expanse of an embroidered red fabric.

By 1953 Gunn’s reputation as a leading portrait painter was confirmed with the commission to paint the official Coronation portrait of Queen Elizabeth II (Royal Collection Trust, Windsor Castle)

Gunn was knighted in 1963 for his services to the arts. The retrospective exhibition Sir James Gunn: 1893-1964 was held at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, 3 December 1994 – 26 February 1995.