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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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Yellow portrait (portrait of Alex Jelinek)

1955
Lina Bryans

oil on plywood (frame: 183.7 cm x 122.7 cm)

Alex Jelinek (1925–2007), architect and designer, graduated from the technical building school of Hradec Králové, near Prague, during World War II. In 1946 he became attached to the architectural school of the Prague Academy of Fine Arts, but just weeks before he was due to graduate, he fled communist Czechoslovakia to live as a displaced person in West Germany. In 1950 he emigrated to Australia on a labour contract. Initially working in Melbourne, laying track, the cultivated Praguer ended up on the Eucumbene Dam site. Some time before 1955 he met the artist Lina Bryans, and they began a lifelong relationship. Prickly with prospective clients, Jelinek was a visionary of genius, drawing brilliant designs for far more structures than he ever realised. For Bryans’s second cousin, Canberra academic Bruce Benjamin, he carried out the spiral ‘Round House’ in Gawler Crescent, Deakin, which was named Australian House of the Year in 1957 and is now heritage-listed. In 1962 he designed a roadhouse at Peregian Beach that was converted to a motel before it was knocked down in 2003. Otherwise, his modifications to Bryans’s two Melbourne houses were his only solid architectural contributions. His huge sculpture, Quill (1974) and some aluminium furniture he designed are now in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Paul and James Bryans 2015. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
© Estate of Lina Bryans

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.
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Audio description

2 minutes 55 seconds
Show transcript

Artist and subject

Lina Bryans (age 46 in 1955)

Alex Jelinek (age 30 in 1955)

Subject professions

Architecture, design and fashion

Donated by

Paul Bryans (1 portrait)

James Bryans (1 portrait)

Related portraits

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.

Yellow portrait (portrait of Alex Jelinek)
Yellow portrait (portrait of Alex Jelinek)
Yellow portrait (portrait of Alex Jelinek)
Yellow portrait (portrait of Alex Jelinek)

Fugue in Yellow

Magazine article by Roger Benjamin, 2015

Roger Benjamin explores the intriguing union of Lina Bryans and Alex Jelinek.

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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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