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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.

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John Schaeffer AO - art collector and philanthropist

2014
Evert Ploeg

oil on canvas (support: 152.0 cm x 152.0 cm)

Evert Ploeg painted this portrait of John Schaeffer AO (1941–2020) for the 2014 Archibald Prize. A businessman and philanthropist, Schaeffer built a small cleaning business into an enterprise employing more than 20,000 staff, while also becoming a major art collector and benefactor. Ploeg said that he felt an affiliation with his sitter through their shared Dutch heritage and love of figurative art. He chose Schaeffer's home as the setting for the work, so that he could show him 'immersed in his art'. While the reclining bronze nude in foreground is a work by the American sculptor Cyrus Dallin, other artworks included in the portrait confirm Schaeffer's famously great taste for nineteenth-century British art, especially the work of the Pre-Raphaelites: over his left shoulder is a portrait of artist Frederic Leighton by his devoted friend, George Frederic Watts; beneath that work is a small bust by Thomas Brock, the English sculptor who created Leighton's tomb. In the distant background is a drawing of Joan of Arc by Henry Wallis.

Purchased with funds provided by Harold Mitchell AC
© Evert Ploeg/Copyright Agency, 2022

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

Evert Ploeg (age 51 in 2014)

John Schaeffer AO (age 74 in 2014)

Supported by

Harold Mitchell AC (2 portraits supported)

© National Portrait Gallery 2022
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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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency