State Library of NSW
Artist Margaret Coen was in her early twenties when this portrait was made. It was painted in a studio in a condemned building, next to Pfahlert’s Hotel, which overlooked Wynyard Park in Margaret Street, Sydney. Coen’s enthusiastic involvement with the Circular Quay artistic community — a strong friendship with Norman Lindsay developed at this time — introduced her to the English-born artist, Edmund Arthur Harvey, trained in Sydney and Paris, who painted this portrait in 1932. It was a finalist in the Archibald Prize, at the Art Gallery of NSW, for 1932.
Coen was known for her watercolours, paintings of flowers, landscapes and still-life works. She married journalist and writer Douglas Stewart in 1945. Her papers are held by the Library.