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E. Phillips Fox

E.PhillipsFox.jpg

E. Phillips Fox | Australia/France 1865-1915 | Bathing hour (L'Heure de Bain) c.1909 | Oil on canvas | 183.5 x 113.3cm | Purchased 1946 | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

E. Phillips Fox, 'Bathing hour (L'Heure de Bain)', c.1909

E. Phillips Fox
Australia/France 1865-1915
Bathing hour (L'Heure de Bain) c.1909
Oil on canvas
183.5 x 113.3cm
Purchased 1946
Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

E. Phillips Fox

Bathing hour (L'Heure de Bain) c.1909

Bathing hour (L'Heure de Bain) c.1909 is thought to depict a beach on France's Channel Coast. In the early twentieth century, the Channel Coast was frequented by middle-class people with access to money and leisure time.

It was unusual for a female child to appear naked in such company, and equally unusual for her to be tended to by her mother, rather than a nanny. By contrasting the nakedness of the girl and the flowing robes worn by her mother against the more restrictive costumes of the women in the background, Fox is, perhaps, commenting on the loosening of social mores occurring in Europe at this time.

A second version of Bathing hour (L'Heure de Bain), entitled The bathing hour 1909, is in the collection of the Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum, Victoria. The Queensland Art Gallery's painting is the more formal of the two and, unlike the earlier work, was probably painted entirely in the artist's studio.