Dorothy Stoner was born in England in 1904, and moved to Hobart with her family in 1921. After studying at the Hobart Technical College under the tutelage of painters Lucien Dechaineux and Mildred Lovett, she taught for many years in Launceston and Hobart while maintaining a strong focus on her own practise. As with many Tasmanian artists of her generation, Stonor travelled when she could to Melbourne (1939), Sydney (1961) and Europe (1949–50) – studying with a number of her contemporaries.
This painting of a nude was created in one of Stoner’s intensive study periods in Paris (1949–50) at the Atelier Croquois and the Academie Chaumier, under the instruction of Eduoard-Georges MacAvoy. An inscription on the reverse of the painting indicates it was painted at “McEvoy’s ‘Atelier McEvoy’ [sic]”, suggesting that it depicts the interior of MacAvoy’s studio, rather than her own working space. The stylistic incorporation of elements of fauvism and cubism reflects the influence of the ‘School of Paris’ painting, and it has been interpreted as an example of her mature style that developed from this time.
Dorothy Stoner’s work, along with that of Edith Holmes, is indicative of the impact of European modernist painting on early 20th century Tasmanian artists. Although they explored very different styles, their careers reflect a persistent engagement with European ideas and a willingness to incorporate them in their response to personal and local subjects. This painting was presented to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery by the artist in 1983, and is considered one of her most accomplished works.