The Mime: A Tribute to Marcel
- Constance Stokes
- The Mime: A Tribute to Marcel
- oil on canvas
- 70.5 x 60.5 cm
signed upper right: Constance Stokes
Copyright the Estate of the Artist.
Constance Stokes, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, 2017
Lucilla Wyborn d'Abrera, Constance Stokes: Art & Life, Hill House Publishers, 2015, col. illus. p.161
"The great French mime, Marcel Marceau, first visited Melbourne in 1963. Constance Stokes went to his performance. Siting in the front row she was able to remember every movement and nuance, which she would translate immediately following the show into a series of sketches. From these sketches and subsequent viewings of Marcel Marceau in performance, she constructed three paintings and some pastels."
Lucilla Wyborn d'Abrera, Constance Stokes: Art & Life, Hill House Publishers, 2015,p.160
Constance Stokes was a talented, ambitious artist who furthered her artistic studies in Europe and was celebrated as a successful artist in her time. Stokes studied at the Gallery School at the National Gallery of Victoria under Bernard Hall, where her natural talent shone and she was awarded the Travelling Scholarship in 1929 which enabled her to continue her studies at the Royal Academy in London and in Paris in the summer of 1931 with Andre Lhote who was to have a profound influence on her.
As she recalled, ‘the Lhôte School was a revelation to me and, as I did not have much French, and Lhôte had no English, I had to do the best I could by watching him work with his brush - drawing all the colour together, and for the first time I became aware of colour used as tone, and not used as local colour’.
She was included in the Twelve Australian Artists exhibition at Burlington Galleries, London in 1953 and represented at the 1953 Venice Biennale. Her work was admired by Kenneth Clark who, in 1949 considered Stokes to be “one of the finest draughtsmen in the world today.” She attended George Bell’s drawing classes, not as a student but as an opportunity to draw from the model.
Her work is included in many private and public collections including the National Gallery of Australia and the National Gallery of Victoria who held a retrospective of her work in 1993 and included her in the 1992 exhibition Classical Modernism: The George Bell Circle.