Skip to main content

To help keep our visitors and staff safe, please book your spot before visiting.

Menu

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.

Peter Weiss, 2016

by Nicholas Harding

oil on linen
155 x 102 cm
Collection of Nicholas Harding and Lynne Watkins

Peter Weiss AO (b. 1935), cultural benefactor, was born into a well-to-do family in Vienna, from which they fled in the late 1930s. In cramped quarters in Sydney, his mother baked cakes and stitched delicate garments while his father went to work for an apron manufacturer. Meanwhile, they took care to expose the young Weiss to what culture there was in the city. He learned the cello, graduating from the Conservatorium. Having moved to London to further his studies, he gave up the instrument. On return to Sydney he became a successful garment salesman, inching, at home and by night, into manufacturing. In 1975 he and his then-wife Adele launched a pioneering line of separates. They quickly became successful, and remained so over the 1980s, but they divorced in 1990, and in 1997 Weiss gladly renounced the fashion business. Through the 1990s he sponsored concerts at St James’s Church in Sydney. He was one of the early sponsors of a ‘chair’ in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the founding president of the Maestro Circle in 2009. His gift of a million dollars established the Instrument Fund of the Australian Chamber Orchestra; in 2016, he bought a 1729 Guarneri cello for the company. He purchased Peter Sculthorpe’s house from the composer’s estate and regularly hosts music events in its studio. Hee has made very significant donations to the Opera House. Weiss was among the first members of the Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation when it was established in 1983 and was made a life governor of the gallery in 2009. Recently he purchased a huge sculpture for the institution.

Harding has painted Weiss in the colours of his many paintings of peonies, looking like a jaded old king about to start up with a roar.

Related information

David Marr, 2011 by Nicholas Harding
David Marr, 2011 by Nicholas Harding
David Marr, 2011 by Nicholas Harding
David Marr, 2011 by Nicholas Harding

Through thick and thin

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2017

Sarah Engledow likes the manifold mediums of Nicholas Harding’s portraiture.

Hugo at home (Hugo Weaving)
Hugo at home (Hugo Weaving)
Hugo at home (Hugo Weaving)
Hugo at home (Hugo Weaving)

Nicholas Harding

28 Portraits

Previous exhibition, 2017

Nicholas Harding: 28 portraits features paintings of Robert Drewe, John Bell and Hugo Weaving alongside gorgeously coloured recent oil portraits, delicate gouaches and bold ink and charcoal drawings.

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

The Gallery

Visit us, learn with us, support us or work with us! Here’s a range of information about planning your visit, our history and more!

© 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