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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.

David Williamson, late 1970's

Louis Kahan

pen and ink on paper (sheet: 37.5 cm x 57.0 cm, mount: 63.5 cm x 48.5 cm)

David Williamson AO (b. 1942), playwright, studied and lectured in mechanical engineering and psychology before achieving success with his works for the stage. His early plays were first produced at alternative theatres - The Coming of Stork (1970) and The Removalists (1971) at Betty Burstall's La Mama in Melbourne, and Don's Party (1971) at the Pram Factory, Carlton, which was home to the Australian Performing Group. Williamson's subsequent plays, many of which have been made into films which he has scripted, include The Department (1975), The Club (1977), Travelling North (1979), The Perfectionist (1982), Emerald City (1987), Brilliant Lies (1993) Dead White Males (1995) Heretic (1996) Corporate Vibes (1999) and Up for Grabs (2001). His film credits include Stork (1971), Petersen (1974), Gallipoli (1980), The Year of Living Dangerously (1981) Phar Lap (1982), and On the Beach (2000). Williamson has received honorary doctorates from Sydney and Monash, and a great number of literary awards.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Mrs Lily Kahan 2017
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program

Accession number: 2017.66

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Louis Kahan (age 65 in 1970)

David Williamson AO (age 28 in 1970)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Donated by

Lily Kahan (52 portraits)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

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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.