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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.

Alan Marshall

Louis Kahan

fibre-tipped pen and pen and ink on paper laid down on cardboard (sheet: 57.0 cm x 39.2 cm)

Alan Marshall AM OBE (1902-84), writer, began life in Victoria’s Western District. His infantile paralysis (polio) left him permanently disabled. As a teenager in Melbourne he wrote with great dedication, working as a shoe factory’s accountant in the 1930s. Marshall won three Australian Literary Society Short Story Awards, was published in 1934, wrote for Worker’s Voice, Communist Review, news magazines and Meanjin. He edited anti-fascist review Point and was president of the Victorian Writers’ League. He never joined the Communist Party, but attracted the interest of ASIO. His best-known, autobiographical work, I Can Jump Puddles (1955), details the challenges and triumphs of his childhood. The book, translated into many languages, sold more than 3 million copies and was made into an award-winning film in Czechoslovakia in 1970 and an Australian television series. Marshall is a recipient of the Soviet Order of Friendship and he has worked on projects highlighting the challenges confronting people with disabilities. Several literary awards commemorate him.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Mrs Lily Kahan 2017
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Louis Kahan/Copyright Agency, 2020

Accession number: 2017.57

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Louis Kahan

Alan Marshall AM OBE

Donated by

Lily Kahan (52 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.

Self portrait, 1949 Louis Kahan
Self portrait, 1949 Louis Kahan
Self portrait, 1949 Louis Kahan
Self portrait, 1949 Louis Kahan

A guy from Paris

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2018

Sarah Engledow on a foundational gallery figure who was quick on the draw.

Self-portrait, 1973 by Noel Counihan
Self-portrait, 1973 by Noel Counihan
Self-portrait, 1973 by Noel Counihan
Self-portrait, 1973 by Noel Counihan

Of jumpers and river gums, red

Magazine article by Diana O'Neil, 2016

Diana O’Neil on Noel Counihan’s vivid 1971 portrait of Alan Marshall.

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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.