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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 Armstrong, B.A., B. Phil., 1959

Clifton Pugh

oil on masonite (frame: 156.5 cm x 110.5 cm, support: 137.0 cm x 91.5 cm)
Image not available (NC)

David Malet Armstrong AO (1926-2014), arguably the best-known and most influential of all twentieth-century Australian philosophers, was educated in England and at Geelong Grammar, and after serving in the Australian navy studied at Sydney and Oxford. Having lectured at the University of London he returned to Australia in 1955, soon taking up a post as a philosophy lecturer at the University of Melbourne. Having published Berkeley’s Theory of Vision (1960) he became a senior lecturer, completed his PhD and brought forth Perception and the Physical World (1961) and Bodily Sensations (1962). In 1964 he became Challis Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney and held this position, interrupted only by visiting professorships in the USA, until his retirement some 28 years later. A Materialist Theory of the Mind (1968) introduced the world to ‘Australian materialism’. Besides writing a plethora of books, the last published in 2010, throughout his life he engaged in public and political affairs, active in the Australian Association for Cultural Freedom and closely involved with its journal, Quadrant. David Irvine wrote in Quadrant in 2014 ‘Armstrong’s influence on Australian culture has been enormous simply because his influence on world culture has been enormous.’

Daivd Armstrong read a draft of the Antipodean Manifesto on art, which Pugh signed, but ‘could not render the verbiage into academically acceptable English’. The portrait of Armstrong was Pugh’s entry in the Archibald Prize of 1959.


Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Jennifer Armstrong 2018
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program

Accession number: 2018.6

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Clifton Pugh (age 35 in 1959)

Emeritus Professor David Armstrong AO (age 33 in 1959)

Subject professions

Education and research

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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.

Clifton Pugh painting in the studio, 1974 Fred Williams
Clifton Pugh painting in the studio, 1974 Fred Williams
Clifton Pugh painting in the studio, 1974 Fred Williams
Clifton Pugh painting in the studio, 1974 Fred Williams

Painting mates

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2011

Michael Desmond discusses Fred Williams' portraits of friends, artist Clifton Pugh, David Aspden and writer Stephen Murray-Smith, and the stylistic connections between his portraits and landscapes.

Self portrait, 1954
Self portrait, 1954
Self portrait, 1954
Self portrait, 1954

A sketch for some portraits

Magazine article by Judith Pugh, 2005

Judith Pugh reflects on Clifton Pugh's approach to portrait making.

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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.