43. Jacqueline Fahey (b. 1929)
Artist as Warrior
Oil on board
82 x 44 cm
Signed & dated 1957
est. $10,000 - 15,000
Fetched $18,500
Relative Size: Artist as Warrior
Relative size

PROVENANCE Private Collection, Bay of Plenty Fisher Gallery label affixed verso

EXHIBITED Portrait in the Looking Glass: The World of Jacqueline Fahey. A survey of paintings 1957- 1995, curated by Tim Renner for the Fisher Gallery, Pakuranga, 26 April - 26 May 1996

ILLUSTRATED Elizabeth Eastmond Jacqueline Fahey: Artist and Self-Image, Art New Zealand, 42 Back Cover of the artist's memoir, Something for the Birds, (Auckland University Press, 2006)

Trained at the Canterbury College School of Art, Jacqueline Fahey's tutors were Bill Sutton, Ivy Fife and Colin Lovell-Smith. Russell Clark was the most modern influence, but students were left to discover Cubism on their own. Here Picasso's angularity and Georges Rouault's heavy outlines may be an influence, with a Cubist still life on the wall in the background, and a painting table's equipment outlined in black behind the figure.

Painted the year after she wed psychiatrist Fraser McDonald, this self-portrait bears the artist's maiden name as signature in contravention of the accepted custom of taking the husband's name after marriage. Just 28 years old when she painted this, Fahey was living in Wellington where artists Juliet Peter and Rita Angus were her mentors, both women who defied convention by maintaining their exhibiting careers after marriage.

Instead of wearing one of the hourglass ballerina-style dresses of the New Look which characterised fashion in the 'fifties, Fahey confronts the viewer defiantly wearing a black beatnik jersey, her hair chopped into a sassy fringe. She holds her palette in her right hand and her brush in her left, copying how she appears in the mirror just as Angus had done in her famous 1938 self-portrait. In this way, the tools of her trade as an artist become the shield and sword of the woman warrior, the Artist Militant, working with savage dedication as Elizabeth Eastmond described it .

Linda Tyler