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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.

Portrait of Professor Derek Freeman, 1996

Ralph Heimans

pencil and pastel on paper (sheet (irregular): 40.4 cm x 31.7 cm, frame: 66.2 cm x 51 cm)

Derek Freeman (1916–2001) was an anthropologist. Born in New Zealand, he gained his doctorate from Cambridge before moving to Canberra in 1955 to work at the Australian National University. He was Professor of Anthropology from 1972 to 1981, during which period he also became an influential advocate for Aboriginal rights. Freeman had earlier been inspired by the work of Margaret Mead, but came to doubt her highly influential account of adolescent sexuality in Samoa, finding her theories too narrowly based on cultural determinism and on the ‘nature vs nurture’ debate. In 1983 the publication of 'Margaret Mead and Samoa: The Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth' caused a furore in the academic world, which was fuelled by 'The Fateful Hoaxing of Margaret Mead' (1988). The stoush was the subject of David Williamson’s play 'Heretic' (1996), the title of which delighted the elderly scholar.

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

Accession number: 2001.176

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Ralph Heimans (age 26 in 1996)

Professor Derek Freeman (age 80 in 1996)

Subject professions

Education and research

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.

Portrait of HRH Crown Princess Mary, 2006 by Ralph Heimans
Portrait of HRH Crown Princess Mary, 2006 by Ralph Heimans
Portrait of HRH Crown Princess Mary, 2006 by Ralph Heimans
Portrait of HRH Crown Princess Mary, 2006 by Ralph Heimans

Dane reign

Magazine article by Mette Skougaard and Thomas Lyngby, 2018

Mette Skougaard and Thomas Lyngby bring eloquent context to Ralph Heimans’ portraits of Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.

The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey: A Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2012
The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey: A Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2012
The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey: A Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2012
The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey: A Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2012

Imagination

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2013

Dr Sarah Engledow tells the story of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee portrait by Australian artist Ralph Heimans.

Interview with Michael Kirby and Ralph Heimans video: 5 minutes
Interview with Michael Kirby and Ralph Heimans video: 5 minutes
Interview with Michael Kirby and Ralph Heimans video: 5 minutes
Interview with Michael Kirby and Ralph Heimans video: 5 minutes

The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG

'Radical Restraint'

Portrait story

The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG interviews the artist who painted his portrait, Ralph Heimans.

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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.