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books0977:

Pauline Waiting (1939). Sir James Gunn (Scottish, 1893-1964). Oil on canvas. Royal Academy of Arts.

The setting for this painting is the lobby of Claridge’s. In the foreground Pauline is painted in sharp detail, while behind her, in softer focus, Gunn depicts the life of the hotel – a woman lighting her friend’s cigarette, the waiter and the pianist. Unlike his other more straightforward portraits, Pauline Waiting has a slight narrative element, with a frisson of suggestiveness as to whom Pauline may be waiting for in this smart London hotel.

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