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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.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Self portrait

n.d.
Ada May Plante

pen and ink, pencil on paper laid on cardboard (sheet: 19.5 cm x 13.0 cm)

Ada May Plante (1875–1950) studied at the National Gallery School between 1894 and 1899, where Hugh Ramsay, Margaret Preston and Max Meldrum were among her fellow students. Nicknamed 'Venus' for her magnificent red hair, she won three annual prizes for drawing and one for still-life painting. In 1901 she travelled to Europe with another of her cohorts, Christina Asquith Baker; the pair allegedly living off biscuits while studying at the Académie Julien in Paris. On returning to Melbourne, Plante exhibited with the Victorian Artists' Society; in 1907 she was awarded prizes for portrait and figure painting at the Women's Work Exhibition. Having shifted to post-impressionism during the 1920s, she became associated with the Melbourne Contemporary Group and exhibited consistently with the Society of Women Painters and Sculptors. In the 1930s and 1940s, she lived with other artists such as Lina Bryans and Ian Fairweather at Darebin Bridge House, near Heidelberg. Plante held her only solo show at George's Gallery in 1945, from which the National Gallery of Victoria acquired a painting, Quinces, later judged among the best of the modern Australian works to feature in their 1949 rehang.

Captured quickly in pen, ink and pencil, Plante has drawn herself in profile, her hair drawn back and eyes downcast, perhaps a reference to her self-described shyness.

Gift of Dr Penny Olsen, Peter Woollard and Artemis Georgiades 2015

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

Ada May Plante

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

Artemis Georgiades (1 portrait)

Peter Woollard (1 portrait)

Dr Penny Olsen (1 portrait)

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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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