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Paul Haefliger
, 1974

by Judy Cassab

oil on canvas (frame: 93.2 cm x 79.0 cm, sight: 81.2 cm x 66.8 cm)

Paul Haefliger (1914-1982), painter and art critic, trained in Sydney and then in London with Bernard Meninsky and Mark Gertler. He returned to Sydney with his wife, the painter Jean Bellette, in 1939. Two years later he was appointed art critic for the Sydney Morning Herald, in which capacity he promoted modernist ideas flowing into Sydney through artists such as William Dobell, Russell Drysdale and Donald Friend. Haefliger was the chief witness for the defence when Dobell was taken to court in 1944 for his Archibald-winning depiction of Joshua Smith. In 1957, frustrated by his lack of opportunity to paint, he retired from art criticism and went to live in Spain. Later he lived in France and Switzerland before returning to Australia, where his works are now held in major public collections.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of the artist 2003
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2003.21