Perhaps the most famous, notorious, well loved, well hung and controversial painting in Australia.

Chloé was painted in 1875 by Jules Lefebvre (1836-1911) and was exhibited to great popular acclaim winning gold medals in the Paris Salon in 1875, the Sydney International Exhibition of 1879 and the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880.

She was purchased in 1882 by a surgeon, Thomas Fitzgerald (later Sir Thomas) and subsequently loaned to the National Gallery of Victoria. In 1883, after three weeks of exhibition, she fell victim to Victorian "wowserism" (puritanical fanaticism) when outraged citizens objected to seeing the naked female form displayed on the Sabbath.

Upon the death of Sir Thomas in 1908, Chloé was purchased by Henry Figsby Young, an ex-digger turned hotel proprietor, for the very considerable sum of 800 pounds. One story relates that Henry took the painting back to his home above Young and Jackson's Hotel and hid it from his wife. While he was away and she was "spring cleaning", the irate wife discovered it and banished it to the public bar, which ironically turned it into a smash hit. It has remained there ever since, apart from touring Australia to raise funds for the Red Cross during World War I and being loaned as the centre-piece for the exhibition "Narratives, nudes and landscapes" at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1995.

As for the model "Chloeé", she had posed for the painting when she was 19, had subsequently fallen in love with Jules Lefebvre and when the artist married her sister, she was devastated. She boiled up phosphorous match-heads, drank the poisonous concoction and died tragically, at 21. Or so they say!

This information was taken from commentary included with
this poster and is an otherwise unknown source.