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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.

Judy Cassab, 1991

Andrew Sibley

pencil on paper (sheet: 76.3 cm x 56.2 cm)

Judy Cassab AO CBE (1920-2015), artist, was one of Australia’s most prolific, most popular and best-known portraitists. Cassab emigrated to Australia in 1951, having studied art in Prague and her native Hungary. Within months of arriving in Sydney, she was commissioned by Sir Charles Lloyd Jones to paint a portrait of his wife, becoming an Archibald finalist for the first time the same year. In 1953, she held her first Australian solo exhibition at Sydney’s Macquarie Galleries; subsequently, she exhibited regularly in Australia and overseas. The winner of the Women’s Weekly Portrait Prize in 1955 and 1956, by the mid-1960s she was sought-after as a portraitist, completing commissions for high-profile clients such as Princess Alexandra and Queen Sirikit of Thailand. In 1960, she won the Archibald Prize for her portrait of her friend, Stan Rapotec; in 1967, she won it again with her painting of artist Margo Lewers. In all, Cassab had 40 paintings exhibited in the Archibald Prize; and through her many other portraits - both formal commissions and portrayals of family and friends - created a distinct record of Australian society from the 1950s to the present. Her many awards include an honorary doctorate from the University of Sydney and the 1996 Nita B Kibble Literary Award for her published diaries. The National Portrait Gallery currently has sixteen of her portraits.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2010

Accession number: 2010.164

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Andrew Sibley (age 58 in 1991)

Judy Cassab (age 71 in 1991)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

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.

Self-portrait, 1962 by Judy Cassab
Self-portrait, 1962 by Judy Cassab
Self-portrait, 1962 by Judy Cassab
Self-portrait, 1962 by Judy Cassab

Flesh, figure and rock

Magazine article by Aimee Board, 2018

Aimee Board traces Judy Cassab’s path to the Australian outback, arriving at the junction of inspiration and abstraction.

Sir Frank Packer KBE, 1956 Judy Cassab
Sir Frank Packer KBE, 1956 Judy Cassab
Sir Frank Packer KBE, 1956 Judy Cassab
Sir Frank Packer KBE, 1956 Judy Cassab

Vintage Cassab

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

The oil portrait of Sir Frank Packer KBE by Judy Cassab was gifted to the National Portrait Gallery in 2006.

Sir Frank Packer KBE, 1956 Judy Cassab
Sir Frank Packer KBE, 1956 Judy Cassab
Sir Frank Packer KBE, 1956 Judy Cassab
Sir Frank Packer KBE, 1956 Judy Cassab

Judy Cassab

The artist's diary

Previous exhibition, 2013

The artist's diary profiles six decades of Cassab's work, from the early portrait commissions of the 1950s to later paintings that have helped confirm her eminent place in the canon of Australian portraiture.

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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.