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First study for portrait of Malcolm Fraser
, 1981

by Bryan Westwood

oil on canvas laid on board (frame: 88.0 cm x 73.5 cm, support: 73.0 cm x 58.0 cm)

The Rt. Hon John Malcolm Fraser AC CH PC (1930-2015) was Prime Minister of Australia from 1975 to 1983. A skilled political tactician, Fraser came to power in controversial circumstances following the dismissal of the Whitlam government after the opposition-controlled Senate refused to pass supply. Fraser won the ensuing election in a massive landslide, with a 55-seat majority in the House of Representatives. Fraser was educated at Melbourne Grammar School and Oxford University and entered Federal politics in 1955. An aloof but domineering figure within his own party, Fraser was dubbed ‘the Prefect’ by his colleagues. In office he made cuts to public sector spending undoing many of Whitlam’s reforms, yet in recent years he called for a balance between national needs and market demands. Having stated that the Rudd Labor government was worse than the Whitlam government, he resigned from the Liberal Party in 2010, observing that it was ‘unrecognisable’ as the party he had joined more than fifty years ago. After retiring from politics in 1983, he was active in human rights and international aid agencies.

This work is a study for a portrait painted for the Parliament House Art Collection.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased 2012
Accession number: 2012.170