Oil on board
425 x 345mm (image); 580 x 500mm (frame)
Raymond McIntyre began his series of women’s heads in 1912. His favourite model at the time was actress Phyllis Constance Cavendish, then 22. He painted over a dozen times in oil and watercolour. In a letter to his father, written in December, he comments:
‘I did the best work I have ever done so far, from her. I like to go outside the usual run of professional models, of which there are hundreds and hundreds in London—and get people of more normal type and who do not live in the atmosphere of studios all the time. It is more interesting to have a breath of the outside world come along with different interests and information to impart.’
None of McIntyre’s paintings of Cavendish is really a portrait in the accepted sense. She became a type of beauty; he idealised her, in keeping with the fashion of the times. In La Jeunesse Serene (‘serene youth’), her long brown hair, which she actually wore ‘au naturelle’ (in the artist’s words) is transformed into a fashionable severe bob. McIntyre also varied his painting style. This work is in a rather more restrained, not to say conventional, mode.
Fletcher Trust Collection, purchased from McArthur and Company, 5 August 1987, lot 15
Collection of the artist’s niece, inherited from her uncle upon his death, 1933
Collection of the artist