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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.

Peter Booth 3, September 1978, 1978 (printed 2012)

Robert Rooney

inkjet print on paper (sheet: 24.0 cm x 35.2 cm, image: 20.0 cm x 30.5 cm)

Peter Booth (b. 1940) grew up in the English steel mill town of Sheffield, bike-riding on the nearby moors. He left school at 15 and from 1956 to 1957, attended evening drawing classes at Sheffield College of Art while working as a copyboy for a local newspaper. Drawing constantly, he began keeping a dream diary in 1973. In 1957, the Booth family immigrated to Australia, settling in the then semi-rural town of Altona. He attended the National Gallery School in 1962 finding an inspiring mentor in John Brack. Graduating in 1965, Booth went on to teach painting at Prahran Technical College from 1966-69, as well as teaching drawing part-time at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School in 1967. Booth gained widespread recognition through the inclusion of his large architectural ‘block’ paintings in The Field in 1968. From 1969-75, during which time he began keeping a dream diary, Booth worked in the Prints and Drawing section of the National Gallery of Victoria, becoming deeply impressed with the work of William Blake and Goya as well as the authors Tolstoy, Singer, Lessing, and Marquez. He followed the ‘Block’ series with the ‘Doorway’ series (1970-74). From the mid-1970s his work changed to vivid abstractions drawn from his dreams, featuring monstrous hybrid figures, circular motifs, and warped space. During the 1980s he continued to depict mutants, as well as solitary men who also appeared amongst crowds in other works. Around this time, he began his continuing incorporation of flakes of snow drifting over his figures and desolate landscapes. Booth is represented in all major Australian galleries; the Ian Potter Centre held an exhibition of 230 of his paintings in 2003.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2012
© Estate of Robert Rooney

Accession number: 2012.95

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Robert Rooney (age 41 in 1978)

Peter Booth (age 38 in 1978)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

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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.

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This exhibition celebrates Australians whose unique life experiences symbolise social and cultural forces. Uncompromising individuality defines them. The portraits are drawn from the National Portrait Gallery’s collection of contemporary photography and drawing.

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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.