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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.

Jean Bellette, 1937

Adrian Lawlor

oil on composition board (frame: 50 cm x 42.5 cm, support: 38.1 cm x 30.4 cm)

Jean Bellette (1908–1991), painter, studied in her native Hobart before moving to Sydney to train with Julian Ashton. She married Paul Haefliger, art critic, and after a period in England they returned to Sydney at the end of the 1930s. Here she built her reputation on neoclassical figures in landscapes, contributing illustrated articles to Art in Australia and teaching at the East Sydney Technical College. She won the Sulman Prize in 1942 and 1944. She and Haefliger bought a cottage in Hill End, New South Wales, and hosted many amongst the first wave of artists to the area, but from 1957 onward the couple lived in Mallorca, Spain, where she painted some of her finest works. Four years after Adrian Lawlor painted this portrait of her, most of his paintings were destroyed in a fire at his Warrandyte home. Subsequently, he established his reputation as a critic, but following the death of his wife and the failure of his novel, The Horned Capon (1949), he spent his last twenty years in sad decline. Fewer than sixty of his paintings are known to have survived.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2009

Accession number: 2009.3

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Adrian Lawlor (age 48 in 1937)

Jean Bellette (age 29 in 1937)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Related portraits

1. Self portrait, c.1940. All Adrian Lawlor.

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.

Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell

Eye to eye

Previous exhibition, 2019

Eye to Eye is a summer Portrait Gallery Collection remix arranged by degree of eye contact – from turned away with eyes closed all the way through to right-back-at-you – as we explore artists’ and subjects’ choices around the direction of the gaze.

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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.