Folingsby, Clara Wagner (c.1839-c.1873; German)
Oil studies, various sizes
Purchased, 1891
National Gallery of Victoria (p.389.1-1 etc.); and Location unknown

[photo: Old boat (Dugout), Bavarian lake (p.389.22-1)]

German-born Clara Folingsby, the wife of George Folingsby (NGV director and master of the art school, 1882-91: see separate entries), was a recognized artist in her own right, described in an 1871 press appreciation as “one of the most forcible and brilliant of our Munich painters.”

These studies were evidently purchased from her husband’s estate, together with a number of his own sketches and studies: see now Folingsby (G.) Oil studies {1891} NGV [PA].

Originally, some 125 studies by Mrs Folingsby were acquired, as noted in the NGV’s annual report for 1891 (without providing details), and this correlates generally with the gallery’s unpublished list of pre-1905 acquisitions. Later, many of these works were lent out to various Melbourne schools and regional galleries, and only about 70 of them still appear to remain in the NGV, mostly landscapes in Bavaria, Ireland etc, typically on paper mounted on card. For details, and reproductions of many of the other works still in the collection, see the gallery’s online catalogue.

One example previously thought to be by Clara Folingsby is now reattributed: see Gebler Study of a wild boar {1891} NGV [PA]. Conversely, a study formerly seen as the work of G.F.Folingsby is now reassigned to her (for details, see notes below).


AR 1891, p.24 (“125 studies in oils”); NGV 1894, p.120 (V.Buvelot Gallery, fifth bay: “a collection of studies in oil’ by Mrs Folingsby; no details given); not mentioned in NGV 1905 

For the example reproduced here, see The study previously attributed to G.F.Folingsby is Untitled (Landscape: white flowering trees and pine trees (p.395.81-1): see

The 1929 SLV/NGV Annual Report (also available online), under works on loan at that time, pp.15-18, lists works by both Clara and George Folingsby. See also Catalogue of the Fine Collection of Oil Paintings,… of the late G.F.Folingsby,… including also Fine Examples by Mrs Clara Folingsby…, Melbourne: Gemmell, Tuckett & Co., 18 March 1891 (SLV copy available online): lots 13-56 are by Clara Folingsby (Bavarian landscapes etc.); selected press notices of her work dating from 1865-71 are also reprinted (including the comments quoted) 

For further details on Clara Folingsby, see (biography of George Folingsby by Ruth Zubans, published in ADB vol.4, 1972). Both Bénézit 5, p.837, and AKL 42 (2004), pp.4-5 (a passing mention in the entry on her husband) provide sketchy details