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Michael Leunig
, 2004

by Jacqueline Mitelman

type C photograph (sheet: 118.2 cm x 81.0 cm, image: 91.6 cm x 61.8 cm)

Michael Leunig (b. 1945), cartoonist, became resident satirical artist for the Melbourne-based afternoon paper Newsday before gaining wider recognition in the 1970s with his drawings for the Nation Review. Leunig initially worked in the vein of the classic political cartoon, but in 1969, frustrated by the conventions of the genre, he submitted a surreal image of a man with a teapot on his head riding a duck into the sunset. It was published, and Leunig would later come to see it as a symbolic depiction of his own escape from the strictures of political cartooning. His subsequent, characteristically gentle work, often featuring the duck and characters such as Vasco Pyjama and Mr Curly, has been adapted for television, theatre and radio, and has been collected in many books, beginning with The Penguin Leunig (1974). He is a regular contributor to the Melbourne Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. Named a National Living Treasure in 1999, he received an honorary doctorate from the Australian Catholic University in 2007.

Photographer Jacqueline Mitelman was born in Scotland, but has lived in Melbourne for most of her life apart from a period in France. She studied at Prahran College in the mid 1970s under Athol Shmith, Paul Cox, & John Cato. Since then she has worked as a freelance photographer specialising in portraiture. Her work has appeared in Australia and internationally in magazines and newspapers, on CD and book covers, on theatre and music posters. A wide range of private commissions has resulted in a considerable collection of portraits of culturally significant Australians. Her works are held by the National Library, the NGV, the Museum of Modern Art at Heide and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. The National Portrait Gallery owns photographs by Mitelman of Christina Stead, Alan Marshall, Ainslie Meares, Germaine Greer and Rodney Withers. She won the National Photographic Portrait Prize in 2011.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased 2005
Accession number: 2005.63