DETAIL : John Singer SARGENT, The fountain, Villa Torlonia, Frascati, Italy 1907, The Art Institute of Chicago, American Art Collection DETAIL : John Singer SARGENT, Almina, daughter of Asher Wertheimer 1908, Tate, London, presented by the widow and family of Asher Wertheimer in accordance with his wishes in 1922
Rupert BUNNY | Madame Melba

BUNNY, Rupert
Australia 1864 – Australia 1947
England and France 1884-1933, with visits to Australia, Australia from 1933
Madame Melba 1901-02
oil on canvas
245.3 (h) x 153.0 (w) cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of Dinah and Henry Krongold CBE, Founder Benefactors in 1980

Nellie Melba was the professional name of Helen Porter Mitchell (1861–1931). The Australian soprano was born in Melbourne, the city from which she took her name. She sang at Covent Garden, London, from 1888 to 1926, and at intervals with the Metropolitan Opera Company, New York. Famous for her lyric and coloratura roles, Sarah Bernhardt described her voice as being ‘pure crystal’ and Percy Grainger claimed that her voice always made him ‘mindsee Australia’s landscapes’. When Bunny painted this portrait, Melba was at the pinnacle of her success and beginning her artistic partnership with the tenor, Enrico Caruso.

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