Skip to main content

In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Gallery is closed to the public until further notice. Learn more

Menu

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 black coat: Lily Brett, 1989

David Rankin

oil on canvas (frame: 53.5 cm x 41.0 cm, support: 51.0 cm x 38.0 cm)

Lily Brett (b. 1946) is a New York-based novelist, essayist, and poet. She was born to survivors of Auschwitz who brought her to Melbourne with them when she was two. In her twenties, Brett worked as a journalist on the music magazine Go-Set, and on Uptight, a television pop-music program. In the summer of 1967 she travelled to the USA to cover the Monterey International Pop Festival, then to the UK before returning to Australia. In 1989 she moved to New York with her second husband, painter David Rankin, and her three children. The following year she published her first novel, Things Could be Worse (1990). Just like that (1994) won the New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards, the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, and her best-selling 2001 novel, Too Many Men, was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. She has published seven volumes of poetry, several of them on the theme of the Holocaust; three collections of essays; and six novels, the latest Lola Bensky (2012), about a child of Auschwitz survivors who works as a music reporter.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Dr Gene Sherman AM and Brian Sherman AM 2012
Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program

Accession number: 2012.221

Currently not on display

Copyright image request form
Request a digital copy of an image for publication

Artist and subject

David Rankin (age 43 in 1989)

Lily Brett (age 43 in 1989)

Subject professions

Writing

Donated by

Brian Sherman (4 portraits)

Dr Gene Sherman AM (4 portraits)

We would like to thank our partners.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia


Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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.