Skip to main content

Mervyn Horton, 1964

Judy Cassab

synthetic polymer paint and oil on canvas (frame: 98.4 cm x 78.0 cm, sight: 90.0 cm x 69.7 cm)

Mervyn Horton AM (1917-1983), editor, art writer and entrepreneur, founded the journal Art and Australia in 1963 and edited it until his death in 1983. Horton was educated at Newington College and the University of Sydney before becoming the Director of Katoomba Collieries. He joined Ure Smith Publishers in 1950 and went on to become director of the company, which published his books Present Day Art in Australia in 1969 and Australian Painters of the '70s in 1975. In 1956 he opened one of Sydney's first coffee bars, the Galleria Espresso in Rowe Street. Horton was the secretary and exhibitions manager for the New South Wales Society of Artists for twelve years and the honorary secretary of the AGNSW Gallery Society for ten years. He served on a number of governing councils and advisory panels including the Arts Council of Australia and the Friends of the Australian Ballet.

Judy Cassab AO CBE (1920-2015 ) was one of Australia's best-loved, most successful and prolific portrait painters. Born in Vienna, she studied in Prague and at the Budapest Academy before adopting false papers and 'going underground' to escape the persecution of Hungarian Jews. After the war, she and her husband reunited and came to Australia. Because she could not make a living through painting, and her husband did not want her to work in a factory, so she took up teaching. She hardly spoke English and was disoriented by the strange light and seasons, but found inspiration for a more abstract style of painting in the landscape of the Northern Territory, to which she repeatedly returned. Gradually, she made friends with artists such as Jeffrey Smart, Stanislaus Rapotec and Desiderius Orban. In 1961 she became the first woman in twenty years to win the Archibald Prize, with a portrait of Rapotec. She won again with a portrait of friend and fellow artist, Margo Lewers, in 1968. Cassab held a great number of solo exhibitions and won many awards, including a literary award for her published diaries.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2003
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program

Accession number: 2003.19

Currently not on display

Copyright image request form
Request a digital copy of an image for publication

Artist and subject

Judy Cassab (age 44 in 1964)

Mervyn Horton (age 47 in 1964)

Subject professions


Donated by

Judy Cassab (3 portraits)

© National Portrait Gallery 2019
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196
The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Ngunnawal people, the traditional custodians of the land upon which the NPG stands.