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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.

Harry Seidler

Louis Kahan

pencil on paper (sheet: 32.2 cm x 44.5 cm)

Harry Seidler AC OBE (b. 1923), architect and designer, was born in Vienna and completed his early architectural studies in England and Canada. He studied under Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer at the Harvard School of Design, and at Black Mountain College in North Carolina with Joseph Albers. He worked with Alvar Aalto in Massachusetts, with Breuer in his New York practice and with Oscar Niemeyer in Rio de Janeiro before deciding to settle in Sydney in 1948. The first house he designed was for his parents in Turramurra. Now known as the Rose Seidler House, it introduced Bauhaus principles to Australia. Since starting in private practice in 1949 Seidler has made a significant contribution to the architecture of Sydney, for example in his Australia Square buildings (1961-7), the MLC Centre (1972-5) and Grosvenor Place (1982-88). For each of these developments he was awarded the Sir John Sulman Medal of the RAIA. In Canberra, his designs include the Campbell medium-density housing complex, Ethos House in the city, Barton Offices and the Yarralumla Lakeview apartments. From the 1970s onward Seidler has held regular appointments as visiting professor at universities in Australia, the USA and Switzerland. Amongst his multitudinous awards are the RAIA Gold Medal (1976) and the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal (1996). He received Australia's highest honour, the Companion of the Order of Australia, in 1987. Max Dupain was Seidler's favourite architectural photographer.

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

Accession number: 2017.77

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Louis Kahan

Harry Seidler AC OBE

Subject professions

Architecture, design and fashion

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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Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia


Phone +61 2 6102 7000
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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.