Skip to main content

Coming to visit? Ticketed entry is in place to safely manage your visit so please book ahead. Need to cancel or rejig? Email bookings@npg.gov.au

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.

Robert H. Black MD

c. 1950
Nora Heysen

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

Artist and subject

Nora Heysen (age 39 in 1950)

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

Subject professions

Health and medicine

Donated by

Nora Heysen (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.

Unbuttoning uniforms

Magazine article by Sharon Peoples, 2017

Sharon Peoples contemplates costumes and the construction of identity.

Nora Heysen

'This peaceful spot'

Portrait story

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

© 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 both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency