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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, 1960

Max Dupain

gelatin silver photograph on paper (image: 49.4 cm x 39.0 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 1930s, 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. Some of the best-known images in Australian art, these 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. In 1962 Drysdale’s son took his own life; Drysdale’s wife, inconsolable, did the same in 1963. In 1964 Drysdale and his second wife, Maisie, a lifelong friend, built a house in the Bouddi National Park, not far from Tallow Beach. A period of stability followed, and Drysdale was able to produce a further body of significant work over the next fifteen years.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of L Gordon Darling AC CMG 2004
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Rex Dupain and the Estate of Max Dupain

Accession number: 2004.157

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Max Dupain (age 49 in 1960)

Russell Drysdale (age 48 in 1960)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

L. Gordon Darling AC, CMG (6 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.

Sydney Ure Smith, 1948 Max Dupain
Sydney Ure Smith, 1948 Max Dupain
Sydney Ure Smith, 1948 Max Dupain
Sydney Ure Smith, 1948 Max Dupain

Dupain detective

Magazine article by Johanna McMahon, 2019

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

Gordon Darling interview video: 2 minutes
Gordon Darling interview video: 2 minutes
Gordon Darling interview video: 2 minutes
Gordon Darling interview video: 2 minutes

Gordon Darling

by Jiawei Shen

Portrait story

Gordon Darling talks about how Jiawei Shen came to paint his portrait.

L. Gordon Darling AC CMG, 2006 Jiawei Shen
L. Gordon Darling AC CMG, 2006 Jiawei Shen
L. Gordon Darling AC CMG, 2006 Jiawei Shen
L. Gordon Darling AC CMG, 2006 Jiawei Shen

Portrait of a patron

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2007

A new painting by Jiawei Shen captures the vision and resolve of the Gallery's founder, L. Gordon Darling AC CMG.

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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.