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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
© Estate of Adrian Lawlor

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

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
Miranda Otto
Miranda Otto
Miranda Otto

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 building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

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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.

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