Agnes Goodsir

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Agnes Goodsir
Born(1864-06-18)18 June 1864
Died(1939-08-11)11 August 1939
Paris, France
EducationBendigo School of Mines and Industries (1898-1899)
Académie Delécluse, Paris, France (1899)[1]
Known forportrait painting
A letter from the Front/Girl on couch

Agnes Noyes Goodsir (18 June 1864 – 11 August 1939) was an Australian portrait painter who lived in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s.[1]


Goodsir was born in Portland, Victoria, Australia, one of eleven children born to David James Cook Goodsir, Commissioner of Customs at Melbourne, and Elizabeth Archer (née Tomlins).

Her early art training started with Arthur T. Woodward at the Bendigo School of Mines and Industries from 1898 to 1899,[1] and in 1899 some of her work was raffled in Bendigo to partly finance her study in Paris. The years following World War I saw a virtual exodus of Australian artists on a sort of Grand Tour to Paris, all intent on being part of the explosion of the arts taking place there. Painters like Rupert Bunny, Stella Bowen and Max Meldrum were drawn there by the appeal of the Left Bank. Others like Margaret Preston and Grace Crowley were inspired to develop in new directions by post-war Parisian art.[2]

Goodsir attended the Académie Delécluse, the Académie Julian (under Jean-Paul Laurens)[3] and then the Académie Colarossi. From about 1912 she shuttled between London and Paris, but finally settled in Paris in 1921 at 18 rue de l'Odéon.[4]

During her time in Paris Goodsir painted portraits of cosmopolitan women including her partner, Rachel Dunne, nicknamed Cherry. The Parisienne, a portrait of Cherry was painted around 1924.[5]

Her work was acclaimed and exhibited at the New Salon, the Salon des Indépendants, and the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris as well as at the Royal Academy and the Royal Institute in London.[citation needed]

On a short visit to Australia in 1927, she exhibited at the Macquarie Galleries in Sydney and the Fine Arts Gallery in Melbourne. In 1938, four of her oils were shown at the sesquicentennial exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.[6]

She was a member of the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts.[2]

Goodsir died in Paris, France in 1939.[citation needed]

Goodsir's work showed strong composition and technique, favouring oils over watercolours. Despite turning out a large number of still lifes and interiors, her forté was portraits, including Katharine Goodson, Leo Tolstoy, Ellen Terry, Banjo Paterson, Bertrand Russell, Dame Eadith Walker, Countess Pinci and Italian leader Benito Mussolini.[1]


Works are held in:


The Goodsir Scholarship awarded by the Bendigo Art Gallery is named in memory of her.[13]

In 1978 a street in the Canberra suburb of Chisholm was named Goodsir Place in her honour.[14]



  1. ^ a b c d "Agnes Goodsir: biography". Paddington, New South Wales: Design & Art Australia Online. 19 October 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Views from the Left Bank". The Australian. Surry Hills, New South Wales. 4 December 2007. Archived from the original on 11 March 2008. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
  3. ^ "Musée d'Orsay: Notice d'Artiste: Agnes Goodsir". Archived from the original on 29 August 2019. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  4. ^ Watson, Bronwyn (8 October 2011). "Public Works: Agnes Goodsir". The Australian. Surry Hills, New South Wales. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  5. ^ Teffer, Nicola. "Agnes Goodsir". National Gallery of Australia. Archived from the original on 18 June 2020. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  6. ^ "Agnes Goodsir :: biography at :: at Design and Art Australia Online". Retrieved 4 March 2024.
  7. ^ "Agnes GOODSIR | Artists | NGV". Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  8. ^ "Our 19th century art collection". Bendigo Art Gallery. Archived from the original on 7 March 2019. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  9. ^ Goodsir, Agnes. "In a Latin Quarter studio". Item held by National Gallery of Australia. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  10. ^ Goodsir, Agnes. "The Parisienne". Item held by National Gallery of Australia. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  11. ^ "Chinese skirt, 1933 by Agnes Goodsir". Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  12. ^ Goodsir, Agnes. "A. B. Paterson, Banjo". Item held by State Library of New South Wales. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  13. ^ The Goodsir Scholarship Archived 24 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Bendigo Art Gallery, 2010.
  14. ^ "Schedule 'B' National Memorials Ordinance 1928-1972 Street Nomenclature List of Additional Names with Reference to Origin - Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. Special (National : 1977 - 2012) - 8 Feb 1978". Trove. Retrieved 3 September 2019.

Further reading[edit]

  • K Quinlan, In A Picture Land Over The Sea: Agnes Goodsir, 1864-1939, Bendigo, 1998