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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.

Sir Asher Joel

Louis Kahan

pencil on paper (sheet: 44.5 cm x 32.5 cm)

Sir Asher Joel (1912-1998), public relations entrepreneur and state politician, started out as a copyboy at Sydney’s Daily Telegraph. In 1938 he joined the New South Wales committee organising the Australian celebration of the coronation of King George VI. Joel served on General MacArthur’s war agency staff in Brisbane in the 1940s and launched the Asher Joel Media Group in 1946. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Public Relations Institute of Australia. Joel masterminded many huge events including visits by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in 1963, President Lyndon Johnson in 1966 and Pope Paul in 1970. He oversaw the Captain Cook bicentenary events in 1970 and the opening of the Sydney Opera House. Joel was elected to the NSW Legislative Council as an independent in 1958, but joined the Country Party the following year. A founder and governor of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, he was the first Australian Jew made a Papal Knight. After retiring from politics in 1978, he wrote the book Australian Protocol and Procedures (1988).

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: 2017.60

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Louis Kahan

Sir Asher Joel

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.

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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.