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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, c.1940

Adrian Lawlor

oil on composition board (frame: 55.5 cm x 47.0 cm, support: 45.0 cm x 36.0 cm)

Adrian Lawlor, critic and artist, came to Australia from his native England at the age of about twenty. After serving in the AIF during the First World War he settled in Warrandyte and began to write for the Bulletin and other publications. During the 1930s, he studied at George Bell's Bourke Street school and was a frequent visitor to Bell's studio; over that decade he held eight exhibitions in Melbourne and became an office-bearer in Bell's Contemporary Artists Group. Along with Sidney Nolan, Lawlor was singled out by Bell as an artist who 'dared to think for [himself]'. In 1939, more than 200 of his paintings were destroyed in a fire at his Warrandyte home. Subsequently, he established his reputation as a critic in print and on the wireless, over which he broadcast his opinions on art from 1936 to 1951. Following the death of his wife and the failure of his novel, The Horned Capon (1949) Lawlor went into sad decline. Although fewer than sixty of his paintings are known to have survived, he is represented in the National Gallery of Australia and several state and regional galleries.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2012

Accession number: 2012.91

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Adrian Lawlor (age 51 in 1940)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Related portraits

1. Jean Bellette, 1937. All Adrian Lawlor.

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.

Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti+Campbell

Eye to eye

Previous exhibition, 2019

Eye to Eye is a summer Portrait Gallery Collection remix arranged by degree of eye contact – from turned away with eyes closed all the way through to right-back-at-you – as we explore artists’ and subjects’ choices around the direction of the gaze.

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The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

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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.