ELLIS, Rennie (1940-2003)
Spring Lunch, Melbourne, 1992
Silver Gelatin photograph hand printed from the original negative on high quality fibre based paper, selenium toned. Measures 29cm × 43cm (image); 40cm × 50cm (sheet), certified with a “blind stamp” impression in the lower right hand corner, titled, signed, editioned and dated by the Director of the Rennie Ellis Archive verso. Printed in a limited edition of 60 copies. Framed in black timber.
Illustrated in Decadent 1980-2000 (Melbourne : Hardie Grant Books and the State Library of Victoria, 2014, p. 14 and pp. 218-219)
‘There is one particular photograph in Decadent that suggests, beyond its considerable narrative strength, what women may have meant as subjects for the elegant, genial and acutely observant Rennie Ellis. In Spring Lunch 1992, thirteen men stand around a circular restaurant table. Dressed conservatively in business suits and ties, all gaze, save one, at an almost totally unclad blonde woman sitting on a white tablecloth in the centre of their beer bottle-strewn table. The men seem bemused by the good fortune that has propelled this beautiful young woman from the realms of mythology – a nightclub Botticelli Venus – into their presence. As Ellis instinctively frames the young woman before her all-male audience, she smiles conspiratorially at him, radiating the aura of a mischievous mermaid found trapped in a fisherman’s net. Ellis’s picture intuitively contrasts the perfection of the young woman’s form with the mundaneness – even impotence – of the men’s stances as they can do little more than simply marvel at her beauty and its close proximity to the province of their dreams.’ (Robert McFarlane, ibid, p. 14)
Institutional collections (vintage prints): MGA; NGV
Christine Abrahams Gallery, purchased 2007 (receipt included)
private collection, Melbourne