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H.A. Hanke (1901-1989)
In the Studio 1942
oil on canvas
66.3 x 56.5 cm
Gift of Howard Hinton 1944

 

Henry Aloysius Hanke studied art at the J.S. Watkins School, Sydney and in 1922, became an exhibiting member of the Royal Art Society of NSW, painting portraits, landscapes and still life. He won the Archibald Prize in 1934 for one of his self portraits, and the inaugural Sulman Prize in 1936. 

Known as “Harry” to his friends, Hanke served in the Military History section of the Australian Imperial Force in WWII, during which time he completed many paintings in New Guinea. Howard Hinton was a big supporter of this artist, donating thirteen of his oil paintings over a decade to the Armidale Teachers' College.

The title of this work indicates that it is a staged scene in which different body poses and surface textures can be explored. Dressed in costume, the female figure wears a full floral-print skirt, peasant blouse, head scarf and gold hoop earrings. She is perched on the side of a table on which are placed a marble cherub statue, flower arrangements and a shiny bronze soldier. The ornate gold picture frame on the wall behind adds to the medley. With her hand on her hip and a bored expression on her face, the life model is compared with the inanimate objects she stands amongst.