The Joy of Museums

Finding Beauty & Meaning in Museums

“Summer Time” by Rupert Bunny

Rupert Bunny, Summer Time, c. 1907. Art Gallery of New South Wales

“Summer Time” was painted by Rupert Bunny who was a magnificent colourist and erudite painter of classic themes and could masterful handle large-scale composition. This painting epitomises a spirit of leisure and sensuality, depicting seven voluptuous women lounging inside a bathhouse.  Bunny modeled each of the figures on his wife Jeanne Morel, who sat for numerous paintings during this period. Jeanne is  French variation of Jean and the meaning of the name is “God is gracious”.

This painting has a dreamy female sensuality, indulging the senses. The collection of Jeannes all in different poses, from sipping iced tea to inhaling the scent of plucked roses in a bathing house on the Seine in Paris. It is a floating swimming pool enclosed from public view where women could bathe discreetly. One woman is undressing preparing to climb down into the water while another on the left is dressing up, preparing to return to public view, dressed from top to bottom in the expectations of the day.

Rupert Bunny (1864 – 1947) was an Australian painter, who achieved success and critical acclaim as an expatriate in fin-de-siècle Paris. He gained an honourable mention at the Paris Salon of 1890 and a bronze medal at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900. The French state acquired 13 of his works for the Musée du Luxembourg and regional collections.

Among the many masterpieces and historical objects in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the following are some highlights:

Essential Facts:

  • Title:               Summer Time
  • Artist:             Rupert Charles Wulsten Bunny
  • Dates:             1907
  • Style:               Impressionism
  • Materials:      Oil on Canvas
  • Dimensions:  250.0 x 300.5 cm stretcher; 301.2 x 352.0 x 11.0 cm frame
  • Museum:       Art Gallery of New South Wales

Artist Essential Facts:


“Art is an illusion of spontaneity.” Japanese Proverb



Photo Credit: Rupert Bunny [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons