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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.

Fred Gruen

1941
Erwin Fabian

gouache on paper (sheet: 53.8 cm x 39.3 cm)

Fred Gruen AO (1921-1997), economist, was a Viennese-born Jew. Declared an enemy alien in England at the outbreak of World War 2, in 1940 he was sent to Australia on the prison ship Dunera and interned at Hay, NSW. Accepted into Melbourne University in 1941, he served in the Australian Army before completing his commerce degree. After studying further in the USA, and teaching in Sydney and Melbourne, he took up a professorship in the Research School of Social Sciences at ANU in 1972, though he spent the next three years advising the Whitlam government on economic policy. As head of the ANU Economics program between 1975 and 1985, he founded the university's pioneering Centre for Economic Policy Research. President of the Economic Society of Australia and of the Academy of the Social Sciences of Australia during the 1980s, he continued to advise on economic policy into the 1990s.

Erwin Fabian (1915-2020) was a sculptor, industrial designer and graphic artist. Born in Berlin, the son of artist Max Fabian, in 1938 he fled Germany for London because he was Jewish. Interned when war broke out, Fabian was sent to Australia on the Dunera and detained at Hay Internment Camp, where he mixed with many European Jewish intellectuals and made this portrait of Gruen. Released in 1946, he joined the Australian Army and was eventually seconded to Army Education in Melbourne, where he produced illustrations and cover designs for army publications. In 1950 he returned to London to work as a commercial artist and as a lecturer at the London School of Printing and Graphic Arts. Back in Melbourne in 1962 he commenced his work as a sculptor, exhibiting in state capital cities as well as in London. From 1982 on Fabian commuted between London and Australia. His work is represented in many state and regional galleries.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds donated by Andrew Sayers and from the Basil Bressler Bequest 2002
© Estate of Erwin Fabian

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

Erwin Fabian (age 26 in 1941)

Fred Gruen AO (age 20 in 1941)

Subject professions

Education and research

Supported by

Basil P. Bressler (48 portraits supported)

Andrew Sayers AM (1 portrait supported)

Related portraits

1. Kurt Baier, 1942. All Erwin Fabian.

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.

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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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