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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.

Charles Wheeler, 1961

Louis Kahan

pen and ink on paper (sheet: 56.5 cm x 38.0 cm)

Charles Wheeler OBE (1881-1977), artist, was born in New Zealand and came to Australia as a boy. He trained as an artist at the Working Men's College and the NGV School. During WWI he served with the Royal Fusiliers in France, winning the Distinguished Conduct Medal at Vimy in 1916. He exhibited at the Royal Academy in London and the Paris Salon before returning to Melbourne, where he taught at the Melbourne Tech School and the NGV School. He became drawing master at the NGV School in 1935; from 1939 to 1945 he was painting master and Head of the School. He soon became well-known for his nudes and portraits, winning the Archibald Prize in 1933 for a portrait of the popular Melbourne-based writer Ambrose Pratt. He continued painting well into his old age, turning late in life to impressionistic landscapes.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Mrs Lily Kahan 2006
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Louis Kahan/Copyright Agency, 2020

Accession number: 2006.10

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Louis Kahan (age 56 in 1961)

Charles Wheeler (age 80 in 1961)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

Lily Kahan (52 portraits)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

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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.

Self portrait, 1949 Louis Kahan
Self portrait, 1949 Louis Kahan
Self portrait, 1949 Louis Kahan
Self portrait, 1949 Louis Kahan

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Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2018

Sarah Engledow on a foundational gallery figure who was quick on the draw.

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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.