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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.

Errol Flynn

1938 (printed 2008)
George Hurrell

gelatin silver photograph on paper (image/sheet: 36.0 cm x 28.5 cm)

Nick Cave AO (b. 1957) formed his first band, The Boys Next Door, while at school. In 1980 the band changed its name to The Birthday Party and moved to London, where it significantly influenced other punk bands. After The Birthday Party disbanded, he formed Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, whose first album was released in 1984. Cave has been involved in films as an actor, screenwriter and composer, and co-wrote and starred in a wry documentary drama about himself, 20,000 Days on Earth (2014). A long-term resident of the UK, Cave has written novels and poetry while performing and issuing albums regularly. His 2013 release with The Bad Seeds, Push the Sky Away, was the band’s first Australian number-one album. Cave released his latest album Carnage in 2021, as a duo with long-term member of The Bad Seeds, Warren Ellis.

Howard Arkley and Nick Cave moved in overlapping circles in Melbourne in the late 1970s. One of the first two works commissioned by the Portrait Gallery, Arkley’s painting of Cave was one of the last the artist completed before his death at the peak of his career. The portrait captures the punk mentality and attitude of both artist and sitter in Arkley’s immaculately-finished, psychedelic and incandescent airbrush style.

Gift of Michael Desmond 2012

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

George Hurrell (age 34 in 1938)

Errol Flynn (age 29 in 1938)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Donated by

Michael Desmond (1 portrait)

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.

Daniel Whitechurch and Laura McKellar, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia, 2009 by Nikki Toole
Daniel Whitechurch and Laura McKellar, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia, 2009 by Nikki Toole
Daniel Whitechurch and Laura McKellar, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia, 2009 by Nikki Toole
Daniel Whitechurch and Laura McKellar, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia, 2009 by Nikki Toole

Skater

Portraits by Nikki Toole

Previous exhibition, 2012

Nikki Toole has travelled the world to photograph skateboarders.

Lucy, 2001
Lucy, 2001
Lucy, 2001
Lucy, 2001

Present Tense

An Imagined Grammar of Portraiture in the Digital Age

Previous exhibition, 2010

Technology has been a major influence on art since the invention of the camera, particularly in the field of portraiture.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
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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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency