Sunday, July 19, 2009

Nude Painting

Chloé (1875) by the French painter Jules Joseph Lefebvre (1836-1911).

The painting won in Paris two gold medals and was later exhibited in Australia, where its nudity caused some severe scandals. Later it was purchased by an ex-digger for the then enormous sum of £800.


  1. I imagine that the Princes Bridge Hotel was pretty sleazy when it served Melbourne in the 1860s and early 1870s. Then as you noted, two successful Irish diggers became the licensees: Mr Young and Mr Jackson. Young and Jackson began improvements on the hotel. It was cleaned up, decorated and unified. When the two men dissolved their partnership, Young carried on as publican until World War One broke out.

    The painting was bought for a great deal of money by a wealthy doctor. After being hung in the National Gallery of Victoria for a short time, it was withdrawn from exhibition because of the uproar created by an angry public.

    As I heard the story, Mr Young was willing to hang the delectable Chloe 1875 upstairs in the pub in 1909, as long as Jules Joseph Lefebvre (or someone else) made Chloe seem more mature - her hips were broadened.

    Young and Jackson pub was next to my office. I regularly admired Chloe’s charms over a glass of white :)

    Art and Architecture, mainly

  2. Thanks a lot for the detailed information. I can imagine that those paintings were sometimes "improved" as you mentioned.