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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.

Joshua Smith

c. 1955
Max Dupain OBE

gelatin silver photograph on paper (29.7 cm x 30.0 cm)

Joshua Smith studied sculpture with Rayner Hoff and took classes in drawing and painting at Julian Ashton's Sydney Art School. During the war, Smith worked in a camouflage unit with fellow artist William Dobell. In January 1944 Dobell's portrait of Smith was awarded the Archibald Prize for 1943. A law case ensued, with the artist complainants alleging that Dobell's work was a caricature of his friend. The court found that it was a good likeness. The trial was inevitably distracting, embarrassing and debilitating for Dobell and Smith, but the following year Smith rallied to win the Archibald himself, for a portrait of HS Rosevear. Dobell's portrait of Smith was badly damaged in a fire in 1958, but it has since been restored. Smith painted several memorable portraits, including one of Dame Mary Gilmore and a haunting study of his parents acquired by the Art Gallery of NSW in 1943. He was a regular exhibitor in the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes for many years.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by Timothy Fairfax AC 2003
© Max Dupain/Copyright Agency, 2021

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Max Dupain OBE (age 44 in 1955)

Joshua Smith (age 50 in 1955)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Supported by

Tim Fairfax AC (53 portraits supported)

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.

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© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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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 past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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