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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) was one of Australia's best-loved, most successful and prolific portrait painters. Born in Vienna, she studied art in Prague and at the Budapest Academy before adopting false papers and 'going underground' to escape the persecution of Hungarian Jews. After the war, she and her husband reunited and emigrated to Australia in 1951. 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 following year. In 1953, she held her first Australian solo exhibition at Sydney's Macquarie Galleries. The winner of the Australian 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, Stanislaus Rapotec; in 1967, she won it again with her painting of artist Margo Lewers. In all, Cassab had 41 paintings exhibited in the Archibald Prize. Through her many other portraits – both formal commissions and portrayals of family and friends – she created a distinct record of Australian society from the 1950s onwards. Cassab also found inspiration for a more abstract style of painting in the landscape of the Northern Territory, to which she repeatedly returned, and won several awards for her landscape works in the Wynne Prize. 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 has eighteen of her portraits.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2010
© Andrew Sibley/Copyright Agency, 2021

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Andrew Sibley (age 58 in 1991)

Judy Cassab AO CBE (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
Sir Frank Packer KBE
Sir Frank Packer KBE
Sir Frank Packer KBE

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.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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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 past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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