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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.

John Perceval

1985
Rick Amor

pencil on paper (sheet: 37.5 cm x 26.5 cm)

John Perceval AO (1923-2000), artist, was associated early on with the Angry Penguins, a group of rebellious, largely self-taught Australian artists including Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd and Albert Tucker. The group took its name from the Adelaide-based journal of the same name, edited by Max Harris. By the time the journal drowned in the wash of the Ern Malley hoax in 1946, Perceval had moved on to Victoria, where he potted and sculpted with the Boyd family. With Boyd, Pugh, Brack and others, Perceval signed the ‘Antipodean Manifesto’ of 1959, decrying the ‘bland and pretentious mysteries’ of abstract expressionism, geometric abstraction and related genres. In 1965 he took up the first Creative Arts Fellowship at the Australian National University; during this time, he was first hospitalised for alcohol-related illness. In 1974, he moved into Larundel psychiatric hospital in Melbourne. He was there for five years, but after a spell in a half-way house, he was able to exhibit some works, and a large retrospective of his art was held at Heide. In the mid-1980s, when he was living in a hostel, Clifton Pugh and other old ‘comrades of the canvas’ would take him out painting, paying for his materials and models. In March 1986 a show of forty-eight of Perceval’s small drawings sold out at the opening, and by 1988 he was able to show some new work in Melbourne while thirteen of his paintings from the 1940s were included in an Angry Penguins show at the Tate, London.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2005
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Rick Amor/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

Rick Amor (age 37 in 1985)

John Perceval AO (age 62 in 1985)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

Rick Amor (20 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.

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Artist Rick Amor and author Shane Maloney relate divergent experiences of the creation of Shane's portrait.

© 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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency