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Self portrait
, late 1930s

by 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, Canberra
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