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A blackguard rehearsing - Max Cullen
, 2001

by David Naseby

oil on canvas (frame: 192.4 cm x 146.5 cm, support: 183.0 cm x 137.4 cm)

Max Cullen (b. 1940), artist and actor, trained in art in Sydney in the 1950s, worked as a commercial artist and illustrator for some years, and has continued to exhibit in solo and group shows. He began to study acting at Sydney's Ensemble Theatre in 1963, and has performed regularly on stage since, in productions including Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, A Cheery Soul, Hamlet, A Street Car Named Desire and As You Like It. He won the 1990 Sydney Theatre Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor in The Tempest, and in recent years he gained critical acclaim for his turns in Death of a Salesman and Small Poppies. In 2010 he devised and performed Faces in the Street: A salute to Henry Lawson. Cullen has appeared in a host of popular Australian television series since the 1970s, ranging from Skippy to Love My Way. In 1994 he won both an AFI award and a Film Critics Circle Award for his performance in the film Spider and Rose; his recent films include Jindabyne (2006). He has written, directed and produced several short films and short stories and reported on the arts on television. He lives in a restored cinema in Gunning, operating a gallery and bookshop there.

The title of this portrait refers to the play A Couple of Blackguards, in which Cullen co-starred with Max Gillies at Sydney's Ensemble Theatre in 2000.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Nigel Naseby 2007
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2007.37