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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.

Peter Porter

2004
Tony Clark

synthetic polymer paint and permanent marker on canvas (support: 101.5 cm x 76.0 cm)
Image not available (NC)

Peter Porter OAM (1929–2010), poet and critic, moved from Brisbane to London in 1951 at age 22. His work as an advertising copywriter influenced his early poetry, lucidly evoking the culture of the late 1950s and early 1960s. British poet Stephen Spender described Porter's mind as 'immensely fertile, lively, informed, honest and penetrating'. Porter's first collection of poems, Once Bitten, Twice Bitten, was published in Britain in 1961. The death of his wife in 1974 gave rise to the poetry collection The Cost of Seriousness (1978). Porter's straddling of Australian and English culture remained central to his work, evoking urban and natural worlds. In 1990 Porter was awarded the Gold Medal of Australian Literature, and in 2002, the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.

Best known for his landscapes, Tony Clark's work features conceptual, punk and pop qualities, as evidenced by the reduced palette of blue and pink in this portrait of Porter. The blue of Porter's floating head references Clark's preoccupation with the classicism of Josiah Wedgwood's Jasperware.

Purchased with funds from the Basil Bressler Bequest 2004

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

Tony Clark (age 50 in 2004)

Peter Porter OAM (age 75 in 2004)

Supported by

Basil P. Bressler (48 portraits supported)

Related portraits

1. Peter Porter, 2009. All Norman McBeath.

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.

Les Murray
Les Murray
Les Murray
Les Murray

Poets' Portraits

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005

The Portrait Gallery's paintings of two poets, Les Murray and Peter Porter, demonstrate two very different artists' responses to the challenge of representing more than usually sensitive and imaginative men.

Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark
Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark
Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark
Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark

Portraits for Posterity

Previous exhibition, 2006

Drawn from some of the many donations made to the Gallery's collection, the exhibition Portraits for Posterity pays homage both to the remarkable (and varied) group of Australians who are portrayed in the portraits and the generosity of the many donors who have presented them to the Gallery.

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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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency