Skip to main content

Ticketed entry is in place to safely manage your visit so please book ahead. Need to cancel or rejig? Email bookings@npg.gov.au

Menu

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The attractions of bohemia

Agnes Goodsir was one of a number of Australian women artists to revel in the freedom and creative foment of Paris in the Belle Époque period, characterising it as ‘that wonderful atmosphere of art that makes one thrill all over’.

1Self portrait, 1930 Margaret Preston. © Art Gallery of New South Wales, gift of the artist at the request of the Trustees 1930. 2Girl with cigarette (Rachel Dunn), c.1925 Agnes Goodsir. Bendigo Art Gallery, Bequest of Mrs Amy E Bayne 1945. 3Self-portrait, 1909 Bessie Davidson. Art Gallery of South Australia, gift of Margaret (Mrs Klasen) and Sybil de Rose 1992 © Art Gallery of South Australia. 4Self portrait (Hilda in the Chinoise hat), c. 1913 Hilda Rix Nicholas. © Bronwyn Wright. 5Agnes Goodsir (left) and Rachel Dunn (aka Cherry) (second from left) at Valerie en Caix, c.1930 an unknown artist. The Goodsir Archive.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Paris was at the height of its golden age, a period known as La Belle Époque. The city was the intoxicating vortex of artistic life for the western world, a metropolis embracing informality, innovation, and action. It was to this hive of creative activity that so many Australian artists were drawn. And for women artists in particular, it meant an opportunity to shirk the strictures and structures of ‘conventional’ society, taking advantage of independence realised. Broadening their horizons and artistic ambitions, they travelled with sisters, with mothers, with fellow women artists. 36 year-old Agnes Goodsir arrived in 1900; 1904 saw the arrival of Margaret Preston and Bessie Davidson, aged 30 and 25 respectively; and 26 year-old Hilda Rix Nicholas arrived around 1910.  While some spent only short periods, and others remained until the end of their days, all found reason to consider their liberating time in Paris both fruitful and formative. 

That’s one to get your heart started! You are 9 stories away from seeing your love score...

Choose your next love story

Related information

The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

The Gallery

Explore portraiture and come face to face with Australian identity, history, culture, creativity and diversity.

Plan your visit

Timed ticketing, location, accessibility and amenities

Support your Portrait Gallery

We depend on your support to keep creating our programs, exhibitions, publications and building the amazing portrait collection!

Café and shop

The café is open 9:00am-3:30pm every day. The shop is open 10:00am to 5:00pm every day.

We would like to thank our partners.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.