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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.

Portrait of Patrick Ryan, 1971

Fred Williams

gouache on paper laid on board (frame: 69.9 cm x 42.8 cm, support: 56.3 cm x 29.5 cm)

Patrick Ryan (d. 1990) and Tim Burstall set up Eltham Films in the early 1950s, when the local film industry was moribund. Its first feature, 2000 Weeks, was a flop, but the pair persevered, winning an award at the 1960 Venice Film Festival for the short children’s film The Prize, produced by Ryan. That year, their Black Man and His Bride: Australian Paintings by Arthur Boyd Australia won the AFI Award Silver Medallion in the Experimental category. Other ventures of Ryan’s in this period include the enchanting television series Sebastian the Fox (1961-1963) featuring a fox string puppet in real settings, which won an AFI Special Award. In 1961 he produced a film about the ceramic sculptures of John Perceval, and in 1962 Ned Kelly: Australian paintings by Nolan, which won an Australian Academy of Television and Cinema Arts award. Other art documentaries produced by Ryan include Antipodean painters (1963), Australia Felix: Australian paintings by Tom Roberts (1963), Sydney Blues: Paintings by Robert Dickerson (1963) and The Crucifixion: Bas reliefs in silver by Matcham Skipper. In 1965 Ryan produced an important documentary, The Making of a Gallery, about the National Gallery of Victoria. Ryan began working on the script for Eliza Fraser in the late 1960s; the film appeared in 1976, without Ryan’s involvement.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by Tim Fairfax AC 2012
© Fred Williams

Accession number: 2012.92

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Fred Williams (age 44 in 1971)

Patrick Ryan

Subject professions

Performing arts

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Clifton Pugh painting in the studio, 1974 Fred Williams
Clifton Pugh painting in the studio, 1974 Fred Williams
Clifton Pugh painting in the studio, 1974 Fred Williams
Clifton Pugh painting in the studio, 1974 Fred Williams

Painting mates

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2011

Michael Desmond discusses Fred Williams' portraits of friends, artist Clifton Pugh, David Aspden and writer Stephen Murray-Smith, and the stylistic connections between his portraits and landscapes.

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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.