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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

William Dargie

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

Accession number: 2002.36

Currently on display: Gallery Five (John Schaeffer Gallery)

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Artist and subject

William Dargie (age 18 in 1930)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

L. Gordon Darling AC, CMG (6 portraits)

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© National Portrait Gallery 2020
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Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia


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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.