Lady into Fox
Oil on canvas; signed; signed again, inscribed and dated 1949 verso.
47.25 x 30.25 inches
Private Collection, Canada
Strasser’s wild portrait is of prima ballerina Sally Gilmour in her role in the ballet Lady into Fox, first performed in 1939. This Ballet Rambert production, based on a surreal novel by David Garnett, starred Gilmour as a happily married woman who inexplicably transforms into a fox, to the distress of her husband. In the dark of the night, with her hair pricked up like ears, and surrounded by poisonous foxgloves, Gilmour seems fused to her fiery-eyed fox pelt. Strasser, an exotic and adventurous painter, was born in Vienna to a family of artists, and was trained there and in Munich. He travelled all his life all over the world, lived in London, Paris, Bali and Sydney, and ended up in Santa Monica.