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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.

Jan Senbergs, 1976

Keith Looby

oil on canvas (frame: 261.5 cm x 126.5 cm, support: 257.0 cm x 122.0 cm)

Jan Senbergs (b. 1939) came to Australia from Latvia in 1950. He studied at the Melbourne School of Printing and Graphic Arts, where he was influenced by Leonard French. In 1964 he joined the stable of artists associated with the Rudy Komon Art Gallery in Sydney, and he taught throughout the 1960s at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Senbergs has developed a vocabulary of seemingly sinister images of the modern industrial city, which have often been interpreted - for instance, by Bernard Smith - as ' dreary emblems of humankind polluted materially and spiritually by the advanced technological society'. Keith Looby and other commentators have observed, however, that Senbergs sees himself as an 'image maker', whose method is to paint abstract shapes, with little preconception, then unite elements from printmaking and photography with the outlines he has made. Between 1977 and 1980 Senbergs made a huge anodised aluminium six-panel mural for the 'Constitution Wall' of the public hall of the High Court. Here he began a friendship with the architect Colin Madigan, which resulted in a collaborative exhibition documenting the sinking of the HMAS Armidale, Armidale '42 Memory and Imagination, exhibited at the National Gallery in 2000.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Padraic McGuinness 2001
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Keith Looby

Accession number: 2001.190

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Keith Looby (age 36 in 1976)

Jan Senbergs (age 37 in 1976)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

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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.