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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.

Russell Drysdale

c. 1945
Max Dupain

gelatin silver photograph on paper (image: 50.3 cm x 40.0 cm)

Sir Russell Drysdale AC (1912-1981), painter, went to art school in his twenties, having first endured a series of operations on his eyes. After studying art in London and Paris in the thirties, he returned to Australia. Over the course of the 1940s he produced a series of melancholy, foreboding works - including The rabbiters, West Wyalong, The drover's wife, Sofala and The cricketers - which not only laid down the terms of reference for most subsequent depictions of the landscape, but came to be seen as key representations of the Australian spiritual condition. Drysdale lived through a series of crushing personal vicissitudes in the 1960s to produce a further significant body of work before his death.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by Timothy Fairfax AC 2003

Artist and subject

Max Dupain (age 34 in 1945)

Russell Drysdale (age 33 in 1945)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Supported by

Tim Fairfax AC (53 portraits supported)

Related information

Little faces

10:30am, Wed 26 May – Fri 25 Jun

Little faces is for babies and toddlers (with their grown up) to play, sing and have fun discovering a portrait together.

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.

Dupain detective

Magazine article by Johanna McMahon, 2019

Johanna McMahon revels in history and mystery in pursuit of a suite of unknown portrait subjects.

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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