# 42388

BALE, Alice Marion Ellen (1875 - 1955)

The reader

$4,800.00 AUD

Oil on linen, 44.5 x 34.5 cms, signed lower left: ‘A.M.E. Bale’, small canvas repair verso, framed, contemporary pencil inscription on stretcher bar ‘The Reader, Miss Bale, Walpole St Kew’.

Alice Marion Ellen Bale was born in Richmond, Melbourne, in 1875, moving to Walden, 83 Walpole Street, Kew in 1886, where Bale would live, never marrying, for the rest of her life. Bale completed studies under Frederick McCubbin and Lindsay Bernard Hall at the National Gallery School in the period 1895-1904. It would not be until the 1920s, however, that she would achieve widespread recognition for her talent for flower and still-life painting and, to a lesser extent, portraiture. Bale – a traditionalist with conservative tastes – exhibited locally with the Melbourne Society of Women Painters for four decades. Although she never left Victoria, her paintings were also exhibited and sold in both London and Paris.

This oil is one of a number of reflective portraits painted by Bale in the period 1905 – 1910. It relates to her self-portraits painted in 1905 (Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum) 1907 (private collection), and portrait of her cousin Lilian R. Stokes reading (1910) also in the Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum.


Reference :

PERRY, Peter. A. M. E. Bale. Her art and life. Castlemaine Art Gallery, 2011.



Bonhams, Important Australian Art, Sydney, 28/11/2023, Lot No. 90

The Fred and Elinor Wrobel Collection, Sydney

(possibly) : Portrait. Oil on canvas, signed ‘A. M. E. Bale’ lower left, 45 x 34.5 cm, Leonard Joel, Australian and European Paintings, Melbourne, 16/04/1996, Lot No. 593

Leonard Joel, Australian & Overseas Paintings, Melbourne, 23/03/1983, Lot No. 387 (inscribed verso with lot number sticker)

the artist’s estate (provenance recorded by Leonard Joel)