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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.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Les Murray

1995
David Naseby

oil on canvas (179.5 cm x 184.9 cm depth 6.0 cm)

Leslie Allan ‘Les’ Murray AO (1938-2019) was acknowledged during his lifetime as one of the great poets writing in English. From the appearance of his first book, The Ilex Tree, written with Geoffrey Lehmann in 1965, he published more than twenty volumes of poetry, imbued with his religious faith and linked by an engagement with the values of what he called the ‘real Australia’ – the rural heartland and the bush. Although he won many literary awards, including the prestigious Petrarch Prize in Germany, the TS Eliot Award in Britain, and the Queen’s Medal for Poetry, by 2006 his collected volumes contained ‘about twelve’ poems that he thought were good. He wrote eight books of prose, including The Quality of Sprawl: Thoughts About Australia (1999). A biography, Les Murray: A life in progress, by Peter Alexander, was published in 2000. Having lived with – and written about – paralysing depression for many years, Murray said he had ‘just about grown out of issues,’ including any political ones. His collections of poems include The Biplane Houses (2006), Taller When Prone (2010) and On Bunyah (2015).

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds from the Basil Bressler Bequest 2001
© David Naseby

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

David Naseby (age 58 in 1995)

Les Murray AO (age 57 in 1995)

Supported by

Basil P. Bressler (48 portraits supported)

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.

Bob Ellis
Bob Ellis
Bob Ellis
Bob Ellis

Tribute

Bob Ellis

Magazine article, 2016

Bob Ellis (1942–2016) was a journalist, columnist, screenwriter, film director, playwright, speechwriter and critic.

Les Murray
Les Murray
Les Murray
Les Murray

Poets' Portraits

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005

The Portrait Gallery's paintings of two poets, Les Murray and Peter Porter, demonstrate two very different artists' responses to the challenge of representing more than usually sensitive and imaginative men.

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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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