The Red and White Hat
Oil on card.
18 x 22.75 inches
Private Collection, UK
EXHIBITED: Altrincham Libraries Museum & Art Galleries, Altrincham, no. 9
Conder, as an impecunious student, contracted syphilis in his native Australia paying his landlady his rent in bed. In 1890s Paris he knew Toulouse-Lautrec, Beardsley and Wilde, and spent summers painting in Dieppe, often with his friend Jacques-Émile Blanche. Conder was very much of the demi-monde until his marriage in 1901 to a wealthy Canadian widow, Stella Maris Belford, after which he enjoyed the financial and social stability of the beau-monde. This painting was probably the one exhibited in 1930 as Interior with Two Figures (no. 21) in a joint posthumous exhibition with Ambrose McEvoy at the Beaux Arts Gallery in 1930. It is possible that all of the Conders on sale were once McEvoy’s. A reviewer of the exhibition wrote in Art News and Notes: ‘Charles Conder was one of the shining lights of the ‘nineties. His subtle delicate sense of colour, his dream-like imaginativeness made his contemporaries forget his fundamental weakness, his amateurishness. There is nothing in this exhibition to show that his contemporaries had a better judgment than one ripened by the experience of post-impressionism. He remains still a charming colourist. When he handles oils ...the weakness of his drawing and, above all, his design is more apparent than in his watercolours on silk’.