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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.

The Vivisector - David Williamson, 2017

Danelle Bergstrom

oil on canvas (support: 150.0 cm x 180.0 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 the artist 2018
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Danelle Bergstrom

Accession number: 2018.14

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Danelle Bergstrom (age 60 in 2017)

David Williamson AO (age 75 in 2017)

Subject professions

Performing arts

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.

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Lindy Lee, 2003 Greg Weight
Lindy Lee, 2003 Greg Weight
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Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2020

Penelope Grist spends some quality time with the Portrait Gallery’s summer collection exhibition, Eye to Eye.

Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti & Campbell
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Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti & Campbell
Miranda Otto, 1997 Montalbetti & Campbell

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Previous exhibition, 2019

Eye to Eye is a summer Portrait Gallery Collection remix arranged by degree of eye contact – from turned away with eyes closed all the way through to right-back-at-you – as we explore artists’ and subjects’ choices around the direction of the gaze.

The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

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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.