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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.

William Beckwith McInnes

Gordon Furlee Brown

gelatin silver photograph on paper

William Beckwith (Bill) McInnes studied at the NGV School and later undertook study tours of Europe and the UK. He taught drawing at the NGV School from 1917 to 1934 and was its Head from 1934 to 1939. In 1935 and 1936 he acted as director of the NGV. Beginning in 1921, McInnes won five of the first six Archibald Prizes, writing in defence of his conservative work that 'in Australia we have not been bitten by Cubism or Futurism or other isms . . . and I am glad of it.' He was to win the prize twice more, in 1930 and 1936. Sir William Dargie was the only artist to win more times than McInnes; he employed a style similar to McInnes's, of optical realism based on tonal values, which had been handed down from Bernard Hall, McInnes's teacher, via Max Meldrum to Archibald Colquhoun, Dargie's teacher. In 1927 McInnes was commissioned, with Septimus Power, to paint the opening of Federal Parliament by HRH the Duke of York.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 1999

Accession number: 1999.44

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Gordon Furlee Brown

W B McInnes

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Related information

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On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

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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.