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George Duncan, c. 1940

Alison Rehfisch

oil on hessian laid on cardboard (frame: 41.5 cm x 38.7 cm, support: 31.3 cm x 27.6 cm)

George Duncan (1904-1974), artist, was the second husband of modern artist Alison Rehfisch. They married in 1942, having met in the late 1920s as painting students at the Royal Art Society of New South Wales. Duncan recalled in 1965 ‘we seemed to belong to each other on that first day’. Born in Auckland, Duncan traveled in the UK and Europe in the late 1930s and worked as a camouflage artist during World War II. In the 1940s Duncan and Rehfisch exhibited their work together at Sydney’s Macquarie Galleries, and were active in Sydney’s Bohemian contemporary art community. In 1947 they moved to Berrima, painting the landscapes around Goulburn and the Southern Highlands before returning to Sydney in 1951 where Duncan became director of the influential David Jones Art Gallery. Their relationship was based on equality, and Duncan is credited with instigating infamous fancy-dress ‘loin-cloth’ parties held in their painting studio. One such party was painted by Norman Lindsay.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Mrs Margaret Adams 1999

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Accession number: 2003.154

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Alison Rehfisch (age 40 in 1940)

George Duncan (age 36 in 1940)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

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