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Ronald Dale Barassi
, 2000

by Lewis Miller

oil on canvas (frame: 169 cm x 138.5 cm, support: 167 cm x 137.5 cm)

Ronald Dale Barassi AM (b. 1936) is one of Australian Rules football’s most distinguished and decorated figures. Barassi’s professional football career commenced at age seventeen when he joined the Melbourne Demons, the team his father had played for. Between 1953 and 1964, Barassi played 204 games for Melbourne and kicked 295 goals. He was a member of the flag-winning Demons teams of 1955, 1956, 1957 and 1959; and captained the club to further premiership victories in 1960 and 1964. Enticed by a lucrative contract to join Carlton as captain-coach, Barassi left the Demons in 1965 and in 1968 led the Blues to their first premiership win in twenty-one years. Carlton took out the flag for the second time under Barassi’s direction with a comeback win against Collingwood in the 1970 grand final. Barassi left Carlton in 1971 with a record of 99 wins from 147 games as senior coach. Two years later, he joined the North Melbourne Kangaroos, guiding the team that won the wooden spoon in his first season there to the premierships of 1975 and 1977. Barassi returned to Melbourne in 1981 for a four-year stint there as coach and retired from football in 1995 after two seasons with the Sydney Swans. Twice voted Melbourne’s best and fairest, thrice selected for the All Australian side, and named in the Team of the Century, Barassi was officially designated a Legend by the AFL in 1996. He was named a Member of the Order of Australia in 1978 for his services to Australian Rules Football.

Lewis Miller (b. 1959) studied at the Victorian College of the Arts between 1977 and 1979 and completed postgraduate studies in painting there in 1982. A specialist still life, figurative and portrait painter, Miller has held solo shows regularly since 1986 and has been an Archibald Prize finalist sixteen times, winning in 1998 with a portrait of artist Allan Mitelman. This portrait of Ron Barassi won the 2000 Sporting Portrait Prize, a one-off competition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of the artist 2007
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2007.54