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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.

Nora Heysen inside her home, Hunters Hill, Sydney, 2000

Sage

gelatin silver photograph, sepia toned on paper (sheet: 40.5 cm x 30.5 cm, image: 24.6 cm x 21.3 cm)

Nora Heysen AM (b. 1911) is one of Australia's most accomplished portrait artists. Her self-portrait of 1934 was an early acquisition of the National Portrait Gallery, and can be seen hanging inside the Library space. The interior shot shows a painting from the artist's Ruth series, depicting a mighty farmgirl against the background of the Flinders Ranges. The portrait photographer Sage made these images of Heysen at the home in which she has lived for most of her life. Sage was born in Wales, and his first photographs were of Welsh miners and their families during the UK miners' strike of the late 1980s. He studied documentary photography with the Magnum photographer David Hurn, and has worked as a photojournalist for the Sydney Morning Herald.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2001

Accession number: 2001.37

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Sage (age 37 in 2000)

Nora Heysen (age 89 in 2000)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

Sage (5 portraits)

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.

Interview with Nora Heysen video: 2 minutes
Interview with Nora Heysen video: 2 minutes
Interview with Nora Heysen video: 2 minutes
Interview with Nora Heysen video: 2 minutes

Nora Heysen

'This peaceful spot'

Portrait story

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

Self portrait, 1645
Self portrait, 1645
Self portrait, 1645
Self portrait, 1645

The considered life

Magazine article by Andrew Sayers AM, 2010

Andrew Sayers asks whether a portrait can truly be the examination of a life.

In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester, 1939 Albert Tucker
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester, 1939 Albert Tucker
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester, 1939 Albert Tucker
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester, 1939 Albert Tucker

Depth of Field

Portrait Photography from the Collection

Previous exhibition, 2004

Over the last five years the National Portrait Gallery has developed a collection of portrait photographs that reflects both the strength and diversity of Australian achievement as well as the talents of our photographers.

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Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
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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.