In this image of a nude woman on a bed, Lambert acknowledged the grand tradition of reclining nudes painted by Titian, Velázquez, Goya, Manet and many others, in which the female figure is the principal and only subject of the picture. As with the nudes of earlier artists we, the spectators, are voyeurs into her private world. But unlike Titian’s Venus of Urbino 1538 (Uffizi, Florence) Lambert’s nude does not seductively look at the viewer with a sensual glance, nor does she watch the viewer through a mirror as in Velázquez’s The toilet of Venus (The Rokeby Venus) 1647–51 (National Gallery, London).
And unlike the reclining nudes of earlier artists she is not presented in the guise of a classical goddess. She is a modern Parisian woman with her back turned to us, absorbed in a newspaper. She seems to be entirely unembarrassed by her undressed state, or by the fact that we may be gazing at her. Nonetheless, for Lambert, the curve of her bottom and thigh are central to the image.
In devising his composition, and in including the framed picture on the wall behind the nude, Lambert paid homage to Whistler and to hispaintingThe painter’s mother 1871 (Musée d’Orsay, Paris) which had been purchased by the French government in 1891 for the Musée du Luxembourg, Paris. He did so too in his use of a restrained palette and in painting various tones of white against white.
Sydney department-store owner Sir Reginald Marcus Clark, who previously owned A model resting , had a large collection of Australian art. He also owned Lambert's Newcastle c.1925 (cat.98).