Skip to main content

Ticketed entry is in place to safely manage visits to the Gallery, so please book ahead.

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.

Mirka Mora, 1983

Andrew Sibley

pencil on paper (sheet: 75.9 cm x 55.8 cm)

Mirka Mora (1928-2018), French-born artist and restaurateur, narrowly escaped Auschwitz as a girl. Having trained in drama, by 1951, when she came to Melbourne with her husband, Georges, she was committed to painting. Soon the couple became friends with the city's leading artists and collectors, and were instrumental in the re-formation of the Contemporary Art Society. Over the course of the 1950s and 1960s they opened the European-style Mirka Café in Exhibition Street (the first Melbourne café with outdoor seating), the Balzac in East Melbourne (the first restaurant with a licence to serve liquor after 10pm) and the Tolarno in St Kilda. While Georges established himself as an art dealer, Mirka became a Bohemian icon of the city. Having worked zestfully for six decades across a range of media - including embroidery, soft sculpture and doll-making - she is represented in many state and regional collections. Her mosaics decorate Flinders Street Station, she painted a tram, and in 2007 she repainted her original murals for the re-launched restaurant, Mirka at Tolarno Hotel. Her autobiography, Wicked but Virtuous (2000), was followed by a book about her favourite things, Love and Clutter (2003).

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2010
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Andrew Sibley/Copyright Agency, 2020

Accession number: 2010.151

Currently not on display

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

Artist and subject

Andrew Sibley (age 50 in 1983)

Mirka Mora (age 55 in 1983)

Donated by

Andrew Sibley (16 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.

Mirka Mora, 2001 Greg Weight
Mirka Mora, 2001 Greg Weight
Mirka Mora, 2001 Greg Weight
Mirka Mora, 2001 Greg Weight

It's a Mora!

Magazine article by Tedi Bills, 2016

Select extracts from Mirka Mora's autobiography, Wicked but Virtuous, provide rich accompaniment to recent Gallery acquisitions.  

The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

The Gallery

Explore portraiture and come face to face with Australian identity, history, culture, creativity and diversity.

Plan your visit

Timed ticketing, location, accessibility and amenities

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.