Antonio Dattilo Rubbo 'Coquette'

Regular price $34,000.00

There are those that lead and those that follow. Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo - the artist behind ‘Coquette’, whose captivating portraits are only rivalled by his captivating life, embodies the former. 

The story of Dattilo-Rubbo begins in 1897, when the young Italian spontaneously left for Sydney. Here, having studied at the Royal Academy in Naples, Dattilo-Rubbo began teaching classes and even established his own atelier. Led by an openness to all ideas, his studio fast become the rival to Julian Ashton, whose didactic approach strictly advocated for Naturalism.

In 1913, Dattilo-Rubbo’s former student Norah Simpson, returned from Europe with colour reproductions of Post-Impressionist works. Never before seen in Australia, these works were a radical departure from what was considered ‘good’ art. Yet, rather than dismiss them, Dattilo-Rubbo shared them with his atelier. Inspired, artists including Grace Cossington-Smith, Roy de Maistre, Donald Friend and Roland Wakelin began experimenting under their mentor’s eye, producing the first Modernist paintings in Australia.

Dattilo-Rubbo’s achievements maybe vast, but they are anchored by his talent. Interested in the societally misunderstood, his social-realist portraits render people with character and craftsmanship. In Coquette (meaning ‘flirt’), a sensuous figure playfully peeks from behind a fan. Provoking more questions than she answers, Dattilo-Rubbo’s portraits transfix the viewer who is left wondering who the subject is.

Dattilo-Rubbo led a life that at times, seems more fiction than fact. In 1916, he challenged a committee member to a duel when the Royal Art Society rejected a student’s work - needless to say, the painting was hastily re-accepted. In 1940, when Italy entered the war, he was arrested as a possible subversive alien and briefly interned. Yet, just six years later, he was also commissioned to paint the posthumous portrait of former Prime Minister John Curtin.

Charismatic contrarian, campaigner and co-founder of the Manly Art Gallery & Museum, Dattilo-Rubbo was an uncompromising champion of art. Posthumously, his student Roland Wakelin described him as “an inspiration to us all."

Since Dattilo-Rubbo did not produce many paintings - no doubt because he was so busy teaching and donated 125 of his paintings to the Manly Art Gallery, Coquette is a rare and delightful find. For those passionate about art, Australian history or in need of a good story, this work offers bountiful pleasures.


Antonio DATTILO RUBBO (1870 - 1955)
'Coquette'
oil on canvas
Image Size: 93 x 61 cm
Dimensions: 122 x 94 x 5 cm
Signed: signed lower left A. Dattilo Rubbo
Comes with Letter of Provenance
original label attached verso
Availability: in stock
Condition:Very Good: Describes a work of art’s image As New, but may show some small signs of surrounding wear. There are no tears to paper margin or disruption to paint surface. Image is in Fine condition.

How can we help you today?

Art and conversation have always gone well together. So click on 'Contact Us', phone 0419 301 279 or email collect@angelatandorifineart.com

Do you need this work of art framed?

At Angela Tandori Fine Art, we offer specialist advice for custom framing. Local clients are welcome to consult with us at our Hawthorn workshop. Alternatively, we also offer online consultation for clients who are busy, located outside of Melbourne or both. To find out more, please message us.

About You

At Angela Tandori Fine Art, we want to empower Confident Collectors. We know that starting an art collection can be daunting - markets fluctuate, trends waver and theories permeate. Our best advice? Start with art that speaks to you. Whether you're drawn to art for its audacity, power or narrative, discovering what you love is exciting. And to ease the process, we're here to help with advice, services and consultation. Start your own art collection today and tell your story.

About Us

Since 2001, Angela Tandori Fine Art has been connecting people across the world with art they love. With a focus on Modern and Contemporary collectable Australian art, we offer a platform where first-time, as well as established collectors can discover art with confidence. Always available online - we are professional so you can be passionate.

About Angela Tandori

Our director, Angela Tandori is a second generation art dealer who begun working in the industry in 1998. Armed with vast experience in auctioning, valuing, exhibiting and consulting in Australian art, Angela has honed her vision for the modern collector. She holds a certificate in Auction & Valuation practice and is a member of the Art Consulting Association of Australia and an associate member of the Auctioneers and Valuers Association of Australia. Plus, she’s an avid art collector herself!