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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.

Self portrait with scarf, c. 1930s

Rupert Bunny

oil on canvas (frame: 85.8 cm x 70.7 cm, support: 59.2 cm x 44 cm)

Rupert Bunny, artist, studied architecture and engineering at the University of Melbourne as well as art at the National Gallery School from 1881 to 1884. In 1884 he went to Paris with his father, a judge; he was to remain in France for nearly fifty years, enjoying more success than any other Australian painter in Paris and progressing through successive, distinct artistic styles and subjects. He first caught sight of Jeanne Heloise Morel in a Paris art school where she studied and modelled. They married in 1902; he was to paint and draw her until 1929, when she suffered a stroke. In 1901-02 he painted a superbly commanding portrait of Dame Nellie Melba, acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria in 1980. After he returned to live in Melbourne in 1933, a sad widower, he engaged only desultorily with local art politics, turning instead to composing music. In 1946 the NGV held a full retrospective of his work; the same institution mounted another touring retrospective in 1991.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Philip Bacon AM 2012
Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program

Accession number: 2012.222

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Rupert Bunny (age 66 in 1930)

Donated by

Philip Bacon AM (3 portraits)

Related portraits

1. Dame Nellie Melba, c. 1901. All Rupert Bunny.

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.

Portrait sketch of Nellie Melba, 1902 Hugh Ramsay
Portrait sketch of Nellie Melba, 1902 Hugh Ramsay
Portrait sketch of Nellie Melba, 1902 Hugh Ramsay
Portrait sketch of Nellie Melba, 1902 Hugh Ramsay

Doodles of the Diva

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Three tiny sketches of Dame Nellie Melba in the NPG collection were created by the artist who was to go on to paint the most imposing representation of the singer: Rupert Bunny.

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Phone +61 2 6102 7000
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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.