The White Dress (Portrait of Jean)

One of a number of early imposing full length portraits which reveal the strong influence of artists such as Edouard Manet and James Abbott Macneill Whistler. The composition shows an awareness of the classic use of strong diagonals, though the pose is not wholly convincing.

The depiction of an elegantly attired young woman relaxing in sumptuous surroundings was a theme which Fergusson addressed at this time. It shows traits of earlier works as in the low tonal key used and in the stillife study of the vase. The shock of green in the sitter's shawl and the fascinmation of women in hats herald new directions in which fergusson would take his art.

The sitter was Jean Maconochie. The majority of Fergusson's early sitters were drawn from his family circle or from his friends. Jean was one such friend. Documentary evidence in the Archive alludes to a deeper romantic relationship between Ferguson and Maconochie, beyond their professional relationship as artist and model.

  • Material/Medium: oil paint on canvas
  • Date: 1904
  • Creator: John Duncan Fergusson (1874-1961)
  • Accession number: 1992.135
  • Category: Fine Art
  • Subject: n/a