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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 Robert Menzies

Louis Kahan

fibre-tipped pen and pen and ink on paper (sheet: 56.1 cm x 38.0 cm)

Rt Hon. Sir Robert Gordon Menzies KT AK CH PC QC (1894 - 1978) was Prime Minister of Australia for a record total of 19 years: from 1939 to 1941 and 1949 to 1966. Born in Jeparit, Victoria, Menzies attended school in Ballarat and studied at Melbourne University, where he gained a reputation as a brilliant speaker. Following early success at the Bar and in state politics, he entered Federal parliament in 1934. He became Prime Minister in the early years of World War 2 as leader of the United Australia Party, but bitter divisions led to his resignation and the disintegration of the UAP. From the back benches, Menzies founded the Liberal Party, which he led from 1944 to 1966. As Prime Minister through a period of remarkable national prosperity, Menzies cultivated the USA as a 'powerful friend', furthering the two nations' economic and military ties. A staunch monarchist, he was invested as the first Australian Knight of the Thistle and succeeded Winston Churchill as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports from 1965 to 1978.

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

Accession number: 2017.94

Currently not on display

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Donated by

Lily Kahan (52 portraits)

Related information

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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.