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An Australian Sculptress in Italy
(BY MARY JAY.)
The month of Mny liurinu "Holy Y«*r" «r*i« » inemomhle lime ThU lemon of the year ¡n Rom« ii » moil lovely one, the '"campt>BnR" being »live with ícenle«' wild flower,. Artiitic Rome ft« well m reli|rioui Rome wt» "»-doini," und the art
ichoola were «li exhibiting their renr'a work.
rpHE Australian sculptress, Dora t Ohlfsen, took mo with her
to many "mostré," and I always retuined to her studio more than ever in love with her ait, which gained by comparison, for her work resembles more closelv the old Greek than that of any othei sculptor,
Come with me to her studio in the Via S Nicola da Tolen tino-there on the Hist flooi of an old palace she lives
Her studio is a vast npml ment, with tal! windows and n very high ceiling-It is full of shrouded figures, except when visitors go *o see the lovely tilings Theie are divans and cosy coi- ners, wheie a glass of Italian vermuth and a cigarette may bo enjoyed by the favoured; theie are also screens bcliind which we must not ventuie, and the whole place has an atmosphere of BI - tistic mysteiy-very Italian look- ing and chai ming
Let me stand in her studio mid
tell you of some of the lovely pieces that I see as I look back There is the "Guardian Angel," in pink marble, of which she has made 30 replicas; then 1 see the robust "Cossack" in bronze, which is so much admired, My heart warms as I cateh sight of a deai
familiar face, a life-like resemblance-a pink marble bust of Nellie Stewart. Pink mai bit 1* a transparent, fleshlike white marble. The studio is full of living souls, although apparently lifeless marble, and this is Dora Ohlfse.i's art.
The gods once gave her hands the power to play on the chorda of men's heart, with her lovely music, and then in a whimsical mood denied her this gift, but put Into her hand« a chisel, which enables her.to put life into marble; ft rare gift of the gods. She was a pianiste, and went to Russia to study until her hands gave way. Where once she enraptured our hearing, she now
delights our eyes.
When al! her other works arc forgotten. "Sacri- ficio," the monument to the IUiifln Fallen at
Porania, the naval base, will live-the very soul of Italy is shown in every muscle SÍ rhe warrior cries out with arms outstretched and shining eyes: "O Patria Mia la vita elie mi desli ecco ti rendo" -no wonder that Mussolini exclaimed when accept- ing it, "You may now be considered an Italian sculptress." The freedom of the city of Formia was then conferred upon her.
To be commissioned by Mussolini to do R national monument was a wonderful honour, and she is the only woman in Italy who has been so highly honoured. The monument is in white marble, and
the figure of the warrior is in bronze In spite I of all this, Dora Ohlfsen Is an Australian to the |
core of her heart.
"Very foreign, and full of little manners," said Melba when describing hci fellow country-womnn, whom she admired tremendously, and who did a very fine portrait of the diva.
We know her lovely Anzac Medal, snd in I* Petit Palais Museum, In Paris, is her medallion "The Awakening of Art in Australia," showing the nude figure of a beautiful girl vith waving
hair and rays of suniise around her, while her lcet rest on the southern zone of the earth; "Spirituelle and lovely," the French critics said. Her portrait of Gabrielle d'AnnunzIo is there. Mai vc'lously life-like, too, is her medallion of Musso- lini, and it satisfied "H Duce."
While I was In Rome last year, this artist finished a life-sized poitrait of the late Duca d'Aosta, com mander-in-chief of the Italian army, and the King's
cousin. It was then on view at the War Office. Naples wanted it, but Rome would not let it go.
This artist Is a great student, and for years has been trying to probe the secret of the wall paintings at Pompeii-the result is a fine mural painting of St. Anthony of Padua surrounded with waratah, which the artist calls the most immacu- late of all flowers. She Is doing a statue of St. Joseph for the famous Beda College,
Dora Ohlfsen is tall and graceful, with remark- able hands. While working she swathes her head In a coloured kerchief, which hides her pretty I hair. During the war, she was a Red Cross nurse, ! and has high diplomas, ahe is full of courage,
and possesses an attribute that is a gift with many Australians-the power to succeed in anything she undertakes. Her studio is one of the recognised art centres of Rome, and there one meets many interesting people-clerical and artistic. She has a great vogue among Americans who always flock to Rome. Very few Australians go to Rome with- out receiving a very warm welcome from Dort
I Bust of Nellie Stcwatt.
The head of the Bronze Sohltet sut - mounting the white marble monument
at the Naval Base at Foi mia
The Kuban COSMICI 'Left) "Anzac-The
Ela nal Remem- brance" medallion Tile i cverse side shows a soUlici with rifle cocked, and tilt inset iptton, '1014
The reverse side of the medallion, "The ' Awakening of Arl in