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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 Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Don Watson

2002
Anna Sande

oil on canvas board (frame: 52.7 cm x 41.2 cm, support: 45.7 cm x 35.6 cm)

Don Watson (b. 1949), writer, is an authority on aspects of Australian history, culture, politics and language. Educated at La Trobe and Monash universities, he was an academic historian until 1983, publishing Brian Fitzpatrick: A Radical Life in 1979 and both The Story of Australia and Caledonia Australis in 1984. Throughout the 1980s he wrote political satire, particularly for the actor Max Gillies, and speeches for the Victorian premier, John Cain. Since then his serious and satirical writing has appeared in most of Australia's major journals and newspapers and on television, radio, stage and screen. He joined Paul Keating as speechwriter in January 1992 and stayed until his fall in 1996, gaining a reputation as a speechwriter without peer through efforts such as the 'Redfern Speech' of 1992. His biography of Keating, Recollections of a Bleeding Heart (2002) won the National Biography Award, the Courier-Mail Book of the Year Award and the Age Book of the Year Award. He has since published Death Sentence: The Decay of Public Language (2003) an attack on the progressive obfuscation of language by politicians and the media, and Weasel Words: Contemporary Clichés, Cant and Management Jargon (2004).

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2004
© Anna Sande

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

Anna Sande

Don Watson (age 53 in 2002)

Donated by

Anna Sande (1 portrait)

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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The long game

Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2020

Penelope Grist spends some quality time with the Portrait Gallery’s summer collection exhibition, Eye to Eye.

Miranda Otto
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Miranda Otto
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Eye to eye

Previous exhibition, 2019

Eye to Eye is a summer Portrait Gallery Collection remix arranged by degree of eye contact – from turned away with eyes closed all the way through to right-back-at-you – as we explore artists’ and subjects’ choices around the direction of the gaze.

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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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