John Peter Russell (1859-1930) Dadone c.1900
Lot 72
John Peter Russell
(1859-1930)
Dadone c.1900
Sold for AU$ 79,300 (US$ 56,036) inc. premium

Lot Details
John Peter Russell (1859-1930)
Dadone c.1900
signed and inscribed 'DADONe / J.R / FeciT' upper right
oil on canvas
30.0 x 23.5cm (11 13/16 x 9 1/4in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE
    The collection of the artist
    Mme Jeanne Jouve, his eldest child and only daughter
    Gift to her favourite singing pupil in 1948
    Private collection, Paris, purchased in 2000
    Fine Australian Art, Sotheby's, Melbourne, 19 September 2005, lot 10 (illus.)
    The Reg Grundy AC OBE and Joy Chambers-Grundy Collection, acquired in 2005


    The subject of this vibrant oil sketch can be identified by his appearance in another double portrait inscribed 'Maria Peppa-Y-Pascal Mattiocco' signed and dated 1902 and known as Les deux Mattiocco'1 Russell has inscribed the work 'Dadone' which means 'ancestor' or 'old one' in Italian dialect, indicating a familial relationship with the subject. Indeed it is his father-in-law Pasquale Mattiocco, father of Russell's wife Anna Maria Antoinette (known as Marianna) Mattiocco and grandfather of Russell's six surviving children.

    A warm, intimate profile study it is predominantly worked in blues, greys and white warmed by the flesh tones of the face. Boldly and rather loosely handled brushstrokes show no hesitancy in picking out the bony structure of the head, the luxuriant greying hair and beard and the simple jacket and shirt the subject is wearing. The work is closely based on a red conte crayon sketch on beige paper of Pasquale in the same profile pose but extended to include the subject's shoulder and lower arm. The drawing2 is inscribed 'JPR' and dated ' '00' which suggests that this oil too was done in 1900.

    The ease and skill with which Russell paints this portrait of a beloved family member is based on his long-standing interest and training in portraiture. He began his studies at the Slade School in January 1881 under émigré Frenchman Alphonse Legros, famous for demonstrating his ébauches (oil sketches) of heads in front of his students. Russell first exhibited portraits with the Art Society of NSW in 1883, nine in all. His subjects reflected his own social position - members of the upper bourgeoisie, the professional classes and artists and people of culture. In Paris he painted portraits of friends and fellow students at the atelier Cormon, including the famous head of van Gogh.3 Over the twenty years he lived on Belle Ile his preferred subject-matter became the island and its surrounding seas but he did still draw and paint portraits, now largely of family members, none of which were ever exhibited.

    Dadone represents a type, not just an individual. Russell had always been socially rebellious, preferring the company of artists to the bourgeoisie he had been born into and identifying with those that worked the land or lived off their skills as seafarers. Dadone, 'the ancestor', represents the peasant type at its very best. Unable to read or write and with little wealth Pasquale Mattiocco nevertheless represents dignity, strength and character. His gaze is resolute and steadfast, lacking any self-pity. Dadone could have stepped from the pages of a Victor Hugo novel.

    Dr Ann Galbally

    1 Sold Sotheby's, Sydney, April 1989, lot 419
    2 Private collection, France
    3 1886, Now in the Vincent van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Activities
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Motor Cars and Motorcycles:

Buyer's Premium Rates
22% on the Hammer Price

GST at the current rate of 10% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Contacts
  1. Alex Clark
    Specialist - Australian Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    97-99 Queen Street
    Sydney, Australia 2025
    Work +61 3 8640 4088
    FaxFax: +61 2 9475 4110
Similar Items