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Emmanuel Phillips Fox (1865-1915)
St. Marks, Venice 1907
oil on canvas
45.9 x 61 cm
Gift of Howard Hinton 1934  


Born 1865, Fitzroy, Victoria. Died 1915, Fitzroy, Victoria.

Emmanuel Phillips Fox was an internationally-recognised painter in the Impressionist style and key to the development of Australian plein air painting. He studied at the National Gallery School in Melbourne in 1878 and the Académie Julian in Paris, later gaining entry into the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts, where he received training under Jean-Léon Gérome. He painted in artist communities in Brittany and Cornwall, and visited Madrid to study the work of Spanish master Diego Velasquez.

Returning to Melbourne in 1892 Fox established the Melbourne School of Art, teaching European ideas and techniques, and a summer school near Heidelberg where he taught plein air painting and Impressionist methods.

St. Marks, Venice is one of several paintings made on Fox’s trip to the Italian city with wife and fellow artist, Ethel Carrick. He enjoyed considerable success with shows in London and Paris, becoming the first Australian member of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 1910.

Returning to Australia again in 1913, Fox’s exhibition of seventy paintings was received enthusiastically by patrons and the press. A young generation of Australian artists, in particular Roland Wakelin, were greatly influenced by his sun-drenched landscapes and scenes of everyday life, animated by rapid brushwork and lively colour.