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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.

David Malouf, 2012

Rick Amor

oil on canvas (frame: 66.4 cm x 87.3 cm, support: 60.0 cm x 81.0 cm)

David Malouf AO (b. 1934), author, was educated at Brisbane Grammar and the University of Queensland before leaving Australia at the age of 24. After a decade in England and Europe, he returned to Australia and taught at the University of Sydney. His first collection of poetry, Bicycle and Other Poems, appeared in 1970. His first novel, Johnno, was published in 1975. Since 1977, he has published five further books of poetry, three libretti and an autobiography, 12 Edmondstone Street (1985). His novel An Imaginary Life won the 1979 NSW Premier’s Literary Award; Fly Away Peter was named the Age Book of the Year in 1982; The Great World won the Miles Franklin Award in 1990; Remembering Babylon was shortlisted for the 1994 Booker Prize; and The Conversations at Curlow Creek was nominated for the Miles Franklin in 1997. In 1998 he gave the six ABC Boyer Lectures, on the theme of ‘the making of Australian consciousness’. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature since 2008, Malouf’s non- fiction works include On Experience (2008), The happy life (2011) and Being there (2015).

Viewing works in the National Portrait Gallery, Malouf was struck by a painting by Rick Amor, who was later commissioned to paint Malouf’s portrait for the collection. In creating this work, Amor says he aimed first, to produce a good likeness; and secondly, ‘in a world full of enormous heads’, at a quiet picture of a diffident man of intellect.


Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Commissioned with assistance from the Circle of Friends 2012

Accession number: 2012.23

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Rick Amor (age 64 in 2012)

David Malouf (age 78 in 2012)

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.

David Malouf video: 4 minutes and 11 seconds
David Malouf video: 4 minutes and 11 seconds
David Malouf video: 4 minutes and 11 seconds
David Malouf video: 4 minutes and 11 seconds

David Malouf

'The person who is the writer'

Portrait story

Australian author David Malouf discusses the creation of his portrait by artist Rick Amor.

Interview with Rick Amor and Shane Maloney video: 8 minutes
Interview with Rick Amor and Shane Maloney video: 8 minutes
Interview with Rick Amor and Shane Maloney video: 8 minutes
Interview with Rick Amor and Shane Maloney video: 8 minutes

Shane Maloney and Rick Amor

'Big canvas, small head'

Portrait story

Artist Rick Amor and author Shane Maloney relate divergent experiences of the creation of Shane's portrait.

Dorothy Porter, 2001-02 Rick Amor
Dorothy Porter, 2001-02 Rick Amor
Dorothy Porter, 2001-02 Rick Amor
Dorothy Porter, 2001-02 Rick Amor

Beautiful bones

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2011

Sarah Engledow reflects on the shared life and writing of Dorothy Porter and Andrea Goldsmith.

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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.