Woman reading in an Oriental setting..
COWEN, Lionel, J.
Price: 28,500.00 AUD
1890. Oil on canvas, signed lower right 920 x 490 mm, in original Melbourne frame. This large and attractive oil painting is in the original timber frame with the label of the Melbourne maker, W. & C. Dean, Collins Street on verso. It is skilfully painted in the British Orientalist style showing an attractive young lady seated in a picturesque Orientalist interior taking a break from her book. Romanticism in such exotic settings was a favourite genre of nineteenth century artists, a style highly influenced by the poetry of Lord Byron. Lionel J. Cowen, (1847-1895) was born in Jamaica and subsequently studied and painted in London becoming a member of the Royal Society of British Artists. He exhibited for the first time in 1869 at the Suffolk Street Gallery and frequently exhibited at the Royal Academy. A member of a gifted artistic family, in 1888 he accompanied his musician brother Frederick H. Cowen to Melbourne. Frederick became the musical director of the Centennial Exhibition and is remembered as the conductor of the last Exhibition orchestra. As well as painting in Melbourne, Lionel also spend several months in Sydney where he had a studio in Ash Street off 346 George Street. In Smike to Bulldog, Arthur Streeton's letters to Tom Roberts, Cowen is mentioned as being one of the artist studios that Streeton visited when in Sydney. Exhibiting and selling paintings in both Melbourne and Sydney, Cowen became a regular at the Art Society of New South Wales exhibitions and one of his paintings in the Spring Exhibition of 1890, Scandal was purchased that year by the Gallery for £150.00. It is recorded that on July 7th. 1895, Cowen died on board the Oruba in the Indian Ocean, aged 48. He was on his way back to England from Tasmania where he had been living and painting for a couple of years. There is a memorial to him in the Balls Pond Road Jewish Cemetery, London. Fine, in the original frame.