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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

On display in Gallery Five

John Schaeffer Gallery

Self portrait, 1948 Grace Cossington Smith
Self portrait, 1948 Grace Cossington Smith

The works in the John Schaeffer Gallery traverse the decades between the First and Second World Wars and the contrasting influences on Australian society, politics and culture in this period. Internationally significant inter-war achievements in fields such as science, aviation and business are represented via portraits of sitters like Douglas Mawson, Charles Kingsford Smith, Sidney Myer and Frank Packer; while Australia’s role in the realm of women’s rights and social justice is seen with the portraits of Jessie Street, Mary Gilmore and Doc Evatt. The influence of modern art movements on local art and portraiture is also in particular evidence, the John Schaeffer Gallery being where the work of artists such as Arthur Boyd, Grace Cossington Smith, William Dobell and Max Dupain is introduced.

1Self portrait, 1934 Nora Heysen. 2Kate Hattam, 1956 Clifton Pugh.

The John Schaeffer Gallery is named after John Schaeffer AO, one of the National Portrait Gallery’s most significant supporters and a member of the Gallery Board from 2000 until 2005. A major contributor of funds enabling the acquisition of John Webber’s Portrait of Captain James Cook RN, John Schaeffer also donated to the Gallery George Lambert’s Self-portrait with gladioli 1924 – another Collection highlight on display in this room.

Related people

Mr John Schaeffer AO

Related information

Gallery two entrance
Gallery two entrance
Gallery two entrance
Gallery two entrance

Collection display galleries

Previous exhibition, 2019

The collection display includes a wide selection of portraits that tell extraordinary stories of encounter, exploration, independence, individuality and achievement in Australia. Visitors to the Gallery can follow the development of portraiture from oil painting to digital media.

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The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

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© National Portrait Gallery 2020
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia


Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.