A Mother and Son's Serendipitous Reunion

It is with great pleasure that we share the story of how Gibson’s recently connected a delighted buyer with a sketch of his late mother, fatefully on the date of the first birthday since her passing.

The work of modernist painter Jean Bellette, originally from Hobart, is held in many major Australian art institutions, with the latter part of her career being based in Majorca and focusing on classical scenes and motifs within her art.

Bellette’s work was collected by Consuelo Daneo, the wife of former Italian Ambassador Silvio Daneo, and the grandmother of the buyer of lot 191. The collection Consuelo assembled included works by notable Australian artists Jeffrey Smart, David Strachan, John Passmore and Sidney Nolan. However, her relationship with Bellette was not just as patron but as a friend, with the artist completing a portrait of her daughter, our buyer’s mother. In the later years of her life Consuelo returned to the village of her birth in Italy, taking Bellette’s portrait with her. The artwork remains in the last house she lived in.

Lot 191 JEAN BELLETTE (1908-1991) Portrait of a Young Woman

Lot 191 exhibits the gestural quality and quiet intensity that personified Bellette’s style during her career. Poignantly, on the exact day of Consuelo’s birthday, the buyer came across our catalogue where he and his wife instantly recognized Portrait of a Young Woman as a close study of the original portrait and had to have it. In their first year without her, this portrayal of her appeared almost by chance. After placing her in their home in Australia, our clients have been kind enough to share this serendipitous story.


We have the work hung in pride of place, looking down on our family, giving us a lot of comfort. We feel like we’ve rescued her and will pass her down through the generations.

Note: Names have been used with permission.