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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 Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Jenny Watson 4, February 1979

1979 (printed 2012)
Robert Rooney

inkjet print on paper (sheet: 24.0 cm x 35.2 cm, image: 20.0 cm x 30.5 cm)

Jenny Watson (b. 1951), painter and lecturer, studied painting at the NGV school and completed her Dip. Ed. in Victoria in 1973. Her first exhibition, of life-sized photorealist figurative paintings, was in Melbourne in 1973; her second, in 1974, featured horses, painted in the same style. Over the decade and into the 1980s, her paintings became deliberately childlike in style and autobiographical in content, and frequently incorporated text (and horses). From 1978 to 1984 she was a partner with John Nixon in the exhibition space Art Projects. At the same time, between 1973 and 1989, she taught privately and at various schools and colleges. Between 1973 and 2006 she held about 90 solo exhibitions and was represented in numerous group shows. She won the Portia Geach Award for 1990, and represented Australia at the Venice Biennale in 1993. In 2005 there was a retrospective of her works on fabric at Griffith University, where she has been Adjunct Professor in the Painting Department since 2002. The exhibition Jenny Watson: here, there and everywhere, reflecting her many years’ travel and work overseas, showed at the Ian Potter Museum of Art in early 2012. Watson is represented in the National Gallery of Australia and state and regional galleries.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2012
© Estate of Robert Rooney

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

Robert Rooney (age 42 in 1979)

Jenny Watson (age 28 in 1979)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Related information

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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.

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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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