Skip to main content

Ticketed entry is in place to safely manage your visit so please book ahead. Need to cancel or rejig? Email bookings@npg.gov.au

Menu

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.

George Tjungurrayi, 2002

Matthys Gerber

oil on canvas (support: 180.0 cm x 135.0 cm)

George Tjungurrayi (b. c. 1943), Pintupi artist, was born around Kiwirrkura in the remote deserts of Central Australia and moved to Papunya in 1960. He began painting with the senior men at Papunya Tula in 1976. At first, he painted classical representations of the Tingarri cycle, but having settled in Kintore in the 1980s he settled on his characteristic style, his paintings comprising distinctive topographical lines. Becoming known as one of the masters of contemporary western desert art, he had six solo exhibitions between 1997 and 2006 and his group exhibitions include Papunya Tula: Genesis and Genius at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 2000. His dazzling, huge paintings of the Tingarri Cycle are represented in the National Gallery of Victoria and the Art Gallery of New South Wales and in European collections including the Musée de Quai Branly. Tjungurrayi’s work was paired with that of the video artist Laurent Grasso to sensational effect at the 21st Biennale of Sydney in the autumn of 2018. The solo exhibition George Tjungurrayi Major Works showed at Utopia Art, Sydney in March 2018.

Matthÿs Gerber treated this portrait as a series of coloured planes, contour mapping the artist’s face as a cartographer might map a landscape, to evoke Tjungarrayi’s shimmery, hovery depictions of country. It is one of a series of searching portraits in which Gerber attempted to merge portraiture, landscape and colour field painting.

Matthÿs Gerber was born in the Netherlands, and has lived in Australia since 1972. Investigating the modes of representation used throughout the history of European painting up to the present day, he ranges from representational landscapes to abstract images and installations and from photorealism to geometric abstraction as he ‘seeks out the failings of images’ and superimposes contradictory painting techniques. Gerber has worked in the Sydney University Power Studio in Paris, and in The Hague under the Samstag Scholarship. His remarkably diverse works are held by the National Gallery, the state galleries of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, and numerous regional, corporate and university collections.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Pamela Hansford 2007
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Matthÿs Gerber

Accession number: 2007.26

Currently on display: Gallery Four (Liangis Gallery)

Copyright image request form
Request a digital copy of an image for publication

Artist and subject

Matthys Gerber (age 46 in 2002)

George Tjungurrayi (age 55 in 2002)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Related 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.

Cadel Evans, 2008 Matthys Gerber
Cadel Evans, 2008 Matthys Gerber
Cadel Evans, 2008 Matthys Gerber
Cadel Evans, 2008 Matthys Gerber

Winning in technicolor

Magazine article by Alistair McGhie, 2009

Alistair McGhie writes about the portraits of three of Australia's top professional cyclists: Cadel Evans, Stuart O'Grady and Robbie McEwen painted by Matthys Gerber.

George Tjungurrayi, 2002 Matthys Gerber
George Tjungurrayi, 2002 Matthys Gerber
George Tjungurrayi, 2002 Matthys Gerber
George Tjungurrayi, 2002 Matthys Gerber

Two painters

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2007

Chris Chapman explains how Matthys Gerber bridges the gap between abstraction and portraiture.

Creatures of Leisure series (David 'Bird' Twohill), 1982 Paul Worstead
Creatures of Leisure series (David 'Bird' Twohill), 1982 Paul Worstead
Creatures of Leisure series (David 'Bird' Twohill), 1982 Paul Worstead
Creatures of Leisure series (David 'Bird' Twohill), 1982 Paul Worstead

Electric!

Portraits that pop!

Previous exhibition, 2018

Celebrate the Gallery’s 20th birthday summer with Electric! Portraits that pop! The collection exhibition features a mix of bright, bold and colourful paintings, prints and photographs, and buoyant video portraits.

We would like to thank our partners.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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.