Jude Rae

Australia, b.1956

Clérambault’s Dream

  • Purchased, 1995
  • Oil on canvas
  • 1800 x 3600mm
  • 96/07.a-c
  • 1994

Jude Rae painted Clérambault’s Dream as part of a series of works studying the qualities of folded, twisted and rumpled cloth. Rae’s richly painted fabric puts aside its traditional status-enhancing role, and instead takes full and centre stage.The painting’s title pays homage to Gaëtan de Clérambault, a French psychiatrist who originally trained in art and after World War I spent time presenting lessons on drapery at l’École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Part of Clérambault’s expertise came from the large collection of photographs he had taken in Morocco documenting traditional local costume, mainly of women draped in heavy white cloth, while recovering from wounds he received in the war.

(As Time Unfolds, 5 December 2020 – 7 March 2021)

earlier labels about this work
  • Clérambault’s Dream takes its inspiration from the strange obsession of the eminent French psychiatrist, G.G. de Clérambault (1872-1934), who owned several wax mannequins over which he draped rare and exotic materials. He then photographed them over and over again, enjoying the idea of a human body concealed beneath the cloth. Jude Rae’s painted folds reverberate with the intimacy of cloth against skin. The realism she achieves suggests the traditional representation of drapery in Old Master paintings, but Rae uses the illusion to explore ideas of absence and presence, the drapery assuming symbolic meaning beyond the decorative. Rae was born in Sydney and studied at both the University of Sydney and the City Art Institute of New South Wales. She began exhibiting in Australia in 1984. Rae moved to Christchurch in 1990 and attained her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Canterbury in 1992. She has subsequently been awarded a number of artist’s residencies and arts grants. From 1991 to 1993 she was the Director of the South Island Arts Project initiative based in Christchurch.

    (Label from 2003)

  • Monsieur de Clérambault was a French doctor who had strange dreams and a vivid imagination. What do you think he would see in Jude Rae’s amazing painting? Perhaps he would imagine a wardrobe full of ghosts, or closed curtains on a waiting stage. Or would he see something more ordinary, like sheets pegged tightly on a washing line?

    Notice how many shades of grey Jude Rae has used to paint something that still looks white.

    (White on White, 23 November 2008 - 26 October 2009)