Viola Quaife (1883-1945)
oil on canvas on board
46.9 x 34.8 cm
Gift of Howard Hinton 1940
Born 1885 Paddington, Sydney. Died 1945.
Viola Quaife studied at the Sydney Art School under Julian Ashton and Sydney Long, where she was the recipient of several student art prizes, including a first for figure composition. In 1909 she married Sydney Ure Smith, the prominent arts publisher and promoter of Australian art. She signed her works with the initials VAQ, but is also known by her married name Viola Austral Smith.
In this serene oil painting Quaife has used her paint sparingly. Small patches of primer and the weave of the canvas show through. It is an interior study of an entrance hall with floral upholstered chair, small side table, and a bunch of orange flowers in a vase. A triangle of red rug intrudes diagonally in the lower left corner. A framed fan and a small picture adorn the wall. Light from the left casts a shadow on the wall behind the furniture and catches shiny highlights on the candlestick holder and ornate curves of the furniture.