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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.

Before hand David Rosetzky

Jessica Mauboy, 2018 David Rosetzky. Commissioned with funds provided by Sony Music Entertainment Australia 2018. © David Rosetzky

Before hand

The private life of a portrait

Previous exhibition
from Saturday 10 October 2020 until Sunday 14 February 2021

A new exhibition revealing the backstories behind iconic works from the NPG collection and the creative and social process of making a portrait, Before hand features interviews with artists and sitters as well as rarely seen working drawings, scrapbooks, sketches and footage taken in artists’ studios and out on location. Featured portraits include photographer Narelle Autio’s portrait of champion cyclist Anna Meares, David Rosetsky’s double-exposure portrait of Australian singer and actress Jessica Mauboy, Peter Brew-Bevan’s working scrapbook for his portrait of dancer and ballet director David McAllister and the transparency drawings that allowed Evert Ploeg to construct his portrait of scientist Derek Denton.

This exhibition is supported by The Lord Glendonbrook CBE through the Lord Glendonbrook Foundation, assisting the National Portrait Gallery in providing access to the national portrait collection to ever more Australians.

Selected portraits

1 Study for commissioned portrait of HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark (profile head study), 2005 Jiawei Shen. © Commonwealth of Australia. 2 Untitled (Study for 'Emily Kame Kngwarreye with Lily'), 1993 Jenny Sages. © Jenny Sages. 3 Rosemary Valadon, 1995 Greg Weight. © Gregory Weight/Copyright Agency, 2021. 4 Study for portrait of Helen Garner, 2003 Jenny Sages. © Jenny Sages.

Related information

Collection display in Gallery Five, 2019
Collection display in Gallery Five, 2019
Collection display in Gallery Five, 2019
Collection display in Gallery Five, 2019

Collection display galleries

Current exhibition

Currently closed

The collection display includes a wide selection of portraits that tell extraordinary stories of encounter, exploration, independence, individuality and achievement in Australia.

Jimmy Barnes at The Coogee Bay Hotel 1984 (detail) Grant Matthews
Jimmy Barnes at The Coogee Bay Hotel 1984 (detail) Grant Matthews
Jimmy Barnes at The Coogee Bay Hotel 1984 (detail) Grant Matthews
Jimmy Barnes at The Coogee Bay Hotel 1984 (detail) Grant Matthews

Pub Rock

Your backstage pass to 70s and 80s sounds and scenes

Previous exhibition, 2020

Celebrate the people, places and sounds of Australian pub rock and its enduring impact on our nation’s identity.

© Shirley Purdie/Copyright Agency, 2020
© Shirley Purdie/Copyright Agency, 2020
© Shirley Purdie/Copyright Agency, 2020
© Shirley Purdie/Copyright Agency, 2020

Ngalim-Ngalimbooroo Ngagenybe

Shirley Purdie

Previous exhibition, 2020

Using ochres collected on her country in Western Australia’s East Kimberley, Shirley Purdie’s self-portrait is a kaleidoscope of traditional Gija stories and Ngarranggarni (Dreaming) passed down to her.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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 past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency