14 August 2017

Eva Gonzalès' The Donkey Ride is back on Display!

With the support of the Friends of Bristol Art Gallery, this spring yet another wonderful painting from our collection returned to display from conservation limbo. Eva Gonzalès’ Donkey Ride, circa 1880, now takes pride of place in the French Gallery surrounded by Impressionist landscapes – and finds itself in friendly conversation further afield across the balcony with another equine scene in Frank Dicksee’s La Belle Dame Sans Merci.

The unfinished painting was found in the artist's studio after her death, and we can see that the area around the man's jacket remained unresolved. We can also still spot where, maybe in an attempt to nevertheless pass the painting as finished, an ill-fitted frame separated the original paint from a later layer of oil. This later layer dried very slowly in a very polluted city gathering thus far irremovable 19th century dirt.

The Donkey Ride is the only work by Gonzalès herself in a public collection in Great Britain.