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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.

Professor Peter Doherty, 2001

Rick Amor

oil on canvas (frame: 92.4 cm x 77.8 cm, support: 79.8 cm x 65.5 cm)

Peter Doherty AC (b. 1940), immunologist, shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1996 for his discoveries about how the immune system recognises virus-infected cells. At the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University from 1973 to 1975, Doherty and his Nobel co-recipient Rolf Zinkernagel investigated components of the immune system known as ‘killer T-cells’, paving the way for a better understanding of organ rejection after transplants and genetic susceptibility to disease. Trained in veterinary science, Doherty has said that his success stems from ‘a non-conformist upbringing, a sense of being something of an outsider, and looking for different perceptions in everything from novels, to art, to experimental results. I like complexity, and am delighted by the unexpected.’ Since 1988 he has divided his time between the immunology departments of St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Tennessee, and the University of Melbourne. He was Australian of the Year for 1997. His reflective memoir, The Beginner’s Guide to Winning the Nobel Prize, was published in 2005 and his Light History of Hot Air in 2007. The Peter Doherty Institute, an infectious-diseases research centre in central Melbourne, opened in September 2014.

Rick Amor, a distinguished Melbourne painter, evoked Doherty’s intensity and curiosity by placing his figure very close to the picture plane.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Commissioned with funds provided by Marilyn Darling AC 2002
© Rick Amor

Accession number: 2002.4

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Rick Amor (age 53 in 2001)

Professor Peter Doherty AC (age 61 in 2001)

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.

David Malouf video: 4 minutes and 11 seconds
David Malouf video: 4 minutes and 11 seconds
David Malouf video: 4 minutes and 11 seconds
David Malouf video: 4 minutes and 11 seconds

David Malouf

'The person who is the writer'

Portrait story

Australian author David Malouf discusses the creation of his portrait by artist Rick Amor.

Interview with Professor Peter Doherty video: 2 minutes
Interview with Professor Peter Doherty video: 2 minutes
Interview with Professor Peter Doherty video: 2 minutes
Interview with Professor Peter Doherty video: 2 minutes

Professor Peter Doherty

'Not your stereotypical scientist'

Portrait story

Australian Nobel Prize winner, Professor Peter Doherty, provides some entertaining insights into his career and the science profession.

Interview with Rick Amor and Shane Maloney video: 8 minutes
Interview with Rick Amor and Shane Maloney video: 8 minutes
Interview with Rick Amor and Shane Maloney video: 8 minutes
Interview with Rick Amor and Shane Maloney video: 8 minutes

Shane Maloney and Rick Amor

'Big canvas, small head'

Portrait story

Artist Rick Amor and author Shane Maloney relate divergent experiences of the creation of Shane's portrait.

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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.