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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.

Mervyn Horton

1964
Judy Cassab AO CBE

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
© Judy Cassab/Copyright Agency, 2021

Artist and subject

Judy Cassab AO CBE (age 44 in 1964)

Mervyn Horton (age 47 in 1964)

Donated by

Judy Cassab AO CBE (3 portraits)

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.

Self-portrait, 1962 by Judy Cassab
Self-portrait, 1962 by Judy Cassab
Self-portrait, 1962 by Judy Cassab
Self-portrait, 1962 by Judy Cassab

Flesh, figure and rock

Magazine article by Aimee Board, 2018

Aimee Board traces Judy Cassab’s path to the Australian outback, arriving at the junction of inspiration and abstraction.

Sir Frank Packer KBE
Sir Frank Packer KBE
Sir Frank Packer KBE
Sir Frank Packer KBE

Vintage Cassab

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

The oil portrait of Sir Frank Packer KBE by Judy Cassab was gifted to the National Portrait Gallery in 2006.

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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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency