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Judy Cassab

1920 – 2015

Judy Cassab AO CBE (1920-2015), artist, was one of Australia’s most prolific, most popular and best-known portraitists. Cassab emigrated to Australia in 1951, having studied art in Prague and her native Hungary. Within months of arriving in Sydney, she was commissioned by Sir Charles Lloyd Jones to paint a portrait of his wife, becoming an Archibald finalist for the first time the same year. In 1953, she held her first Australian solo exhibition at Sydney’s Macquarie Galleries; subsequently, she exhibited regularly in Australia and overseas. The winner of the Women’s Weekly Portrait Prize in 1955 and 1956, by the mid-1960s she was sought-after as a portraitist, completing commissions for high-profile clients such as Princess Alexandra and Queen Sirikit of Thailand. In 1960, she won the Archibald Prize for her portrait of her friend, Stan Rapotec; in 1967, she won it again with her painting of artist Margo Lewers. In all, Cassab had 40 paintings exhibited in the Archibald Prize; and through her many other portraits - both formal commissions and portrayals of family and friends - created a distinct record of Australian society from the 1950s to the present. Her many awards include an honorary doctorate from the University of Sydney and the 1996 Nita B Kibble Literary Award for her published diaries. The National Portrait Gallery currently has sixteen of her portraits.

Updated 2019