Charles Conder

The Last Bohemian

Ann Galbally
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Charles Conder
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Charles Conder

The Last Bohemian

Ann Galbally
Charles Conder was one of the youngest, most original and most talented members of the Heidelberg School of impressionist painters, and one of the few to achieve a lasting reputation outside Australia. His work hangs in many major collections, including the Tate Britain, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in London and the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Paris beckoned early, and he soon fell in with the fin de siècle generation led by Oscar Wilde, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Aubrey Beardsley. He embraced Bohemia, was forever in debt, worked erratically but unceasingly and lived as if there were no tomorrow.

Conder was rescued from poverty by marriage to a wealthy Canadian widow, but his bohemian past eventually called in its account. Tragically, he descended into syphilitic madness and died in his fortieth year.

Conder's was a beguiling, charmed, desperate life. He was handsome, rakish, sociable…
Charles Conder was one of the youngest, most original and most talented members of the Heidelberg School of impressionist painters, and one of the few to achieve a lasting reputation outside Australia. His work hangs in many major collections, including the Tate Britain, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in London and the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Paris beckoned early, and he soon fell in with the fin de siècle generation led by Oscar Wilde, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Aubrey Beardsley. He embraced Bohemia, was forever in debt, worked erratically but unceasingly and lived as if there were no tomorrow.

Conder was rescued from poverty by marriage to a wealthy Canadian widow, but his bohemian past eventually called in its account. Tragically, he descended into syphilitic madness and died in his fortieth year.

Conder's was a beguiling, charmed, desperate life. He was handsome, rakish, sociable and extraordinarily talented. Anne Galbally's splendid biography is as passionate and fascinating as her subject.

Ann Galbally

Ann Galbally is Associate Professor in the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Melbourne. Her many books include Charles Conder: The Last Bohemian (2002), Redmond Barry: An Anglo-Irish Australian (1995), The Collections of the National Gallery of Victoria (1989) and The Art of John Peter Russell (1977).

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