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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.

Nicole Kidman, New York

2003
Irving Penn

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 35.4 cm x 28.0 cm, image: 26.5 cm x 26.5 cm, frame: depth 4.3 cm)

Nicole Kidman AC (b. 1967), actor, began her film career as a teenager in the Australian ventures Bush Christmas and BMX Bandits (1983), appearing at about the same time in advertisements for pantyhose and health insurance. After a strong performance in the TV mini-series Vietnam (1987) she starred in Dead Calm (1989). Her Hollywood debut came in Days of Thunder (1990), starring Tom Cruise. In 1995 she played Batman's glamorous girlfriend in Batman Forever, but also proved her acting talent in To Die For, for which she won her first Golden Globe for best actress. After Stanley Kubrick’s swansong Eyes Wide Shut, she won another Golden Globe for Moulin Rouge (2000). For her performance in The Hours (2002) she became the first Australian woman to win an acting Oscar and was also named best actress at the BAFTAs and the Berlin Film Festival. Kidman has established a reputation for fearless participation in very diverse ventures including Lars von Trier’s Dogville (2003), the comedy Bewitched (2005), Baz Luhrmann’s epic Australia (2008), the Australian feature The Railway Man (2013), the children’s film Paddington (2012), the drama Lion (2016), the thriller The Beguiled (2017) and the grim police saga Destroyer (2018). In 2017 she received the Emmy for best actress for the television series Big Little Lies. Renowned worldwide for her elegance, in recent years she has starred in advertisements for Chanel No 5, Omega, Jimmy Choo and Etihad Airways.

The legendary Irving Penn took many photographs of Kidman in the years following her divorce from Tom Cruise and her triumph in The Hours.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2009
© Irving Penn Foundation

Artist and subject

Irving Penn (age 86 in 2003)

Nicole Kidman AC (age 36 in 2003)

Subject professions

Performing arts

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.

Penn on paper

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

Michael Desmond discusses Irving Penn's photographic portrait of Nicole Kidman.

The Look

Previous exhibition, 2019

Featuring striking photographic portraits of contemporary figures from the National Portrait Gallery collection, The Look is an aesthetic treat with a lashing of je ne sais quoi.

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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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency