Libby Edwards Galleries & Art Consultancy

Norman Lindsay

"untitled portrait of Rita"
oil on board - framed
20 x 20cm
$AUD 19,000.00

The act that the figure of Rita looms large in the oeuvre of Norman Lindsay is no small endorsement, given that the artist worked with approximately 130 models during his highly productive period of the 1930s and 1940s.1

Writing to his biographer, Norman Hetherington, Lindsay stated that during ‘the late thirties, when all the uproar of the twenties had died down, I had the best time of my life. The press left me alone when I ceased to be news. I had no exhibitions and sold work through the dealers…’2

It was during this period that the artist was introduced to Rita Lee, a statuesque Pre-Raphaelite beauty of Spanish and Chinese parentage, whom Lindsay was to feature in a diverse selection of paintings, ranging from theatrical creations such as Crete 1940 to more decorous examples including Rita of the Nineties 1942.  Although in Crete Lindsay depicts Rita as an imposing full frontal nude (with her younger brother providing the model for the figure at her left) flanked by a bull and a leopard and surrounded by a crowd of other beauties, in Rita of the Nineties she wears long gloves and a high necked Victorian costume, the bodice of which is adorned with lace.

- extract from Menzies Art Brands website, by Anne Phillips BA (Hons), MA