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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.

Self portrait

late 1930s
Sir William Dargie CBE

oil on wood panel (frame: 63.4 cm x 53.3 cm, support: 50.6 cm x 40.2 cm)

Sir William Dargie CBE studied at the Melbourne Technical College, and then in the studio of AD Colquhoun from 1931 to 1934. While he painted many landscapes and still-life pictures, he is renowned for his contribution to Australian portraiture. An official war artist during World War 2, he contributed more than six hundred works to the Australian War Memorial. As a consciously professional portraitist over 65 years he undertook scores of private and corporate commissions, with subjects including the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and a who’s who of leading Australian figures in many diverse fields - the military, industry, sport, education and science. At the same time, his flair for administration resulted in his appointment to a variety of significant gallery boards and councils. Dargie won an unparalleled eight Archibald Prizes. The National Portrait Gallery currently holds twenty of his portraits.

Despite Dargie’s youth at the time he painted this portrait, he had already embarked on a career as a full-time painter. He dressed himself as the archetypal artist, intending, perhaps, to reflect his confidence in his choice of career.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of L Gordon Darling AC CMG in recognition of Sir William Dargie's role in the establishment of the National Gallery of Australia 2002. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
© Roger Dargie and Faye Dargie

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

Sir William Dargie CBE (age 18 in 1930)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

L Gordon Darling AC CMG (6 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.

Gordon Darling

by Jiawei Shen

Portrait story

Gordon Darling talks about how Jiawei Shen came to paint his portrait.

L. Gordon Darling AC CMG
L. Gordon Darling AC CMG
L. Gordon Darling AC CMG
L. Gordon Darling AC CMG

Portrait of a patron

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2007

A new painting by Jiawei Shen captures the vision and resolve of the Gallery's founder, L. Gordon Darling AC CMG.

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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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