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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

gelatin silver photograph

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

Accession number: 2003.38

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Max Dupain (age 44 in 1955)

Joshua Smith (age 50 in 1955)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

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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.