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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.

Robert H. Black MD

c. 1950
Nora Heysen AM

oil on canvas laid on composition board (frame: 94.2 cm x 79.2 cm, support: 78.0 cm x 59.0 cm)

Dr Robert Black ED BS FRACP (1917-1988) was a world authority on malaria and Professor of Tropical Medicine in the Commonwealth Institute of Health, University of Sydney from 1963 to 1982. His research and work with the World Health Organisation (WHO) was instrumental in controlling malaria in the armed forces in Australia and in developing countries. He is the only Australian to have been awarded the Darling Foundation Medal and Prize by WHO (1986).

Dr Robert Black met Nora Heysen while she was a war artist in New Guinea. They married in 1953, and this portrait was painted at their home in College Street, Sydney. The background includes a view of the Port Jackson figs in Hyde Park, seen from their balcony.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 1999. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
© Lou Klepac

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Nora Heysen AM (age 39 in 1950)

Robert Hughes Black ED BS FRACP (age 33 in 1950)

Subject professions

Health and medicine

Donated by

Nora Heysen AM (1 portrait)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

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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Australian artist, Nora Heysen, discusses her childhood and the development of her career.

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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 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.

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