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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.

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Portrait of a beautiful mind - Adam Cullen, Blue Mountains

2005 (printed 2019)
George Fetting

inkjet print on paper (sheet: 137.5 cm x 112.0 cm, image: 130.0 cm x 104.5 cm, frame: 152.1 cm x 125.5 cm depth 4.4 cm)

Adam Cullen (1965–2012), painter, studied art in Sydney from 1986 to 1999, when he obtained his Master's degree in Fine Arts from the University of New South Wales. He held his first solo exhibition in 1993, and exhibited annually from then until his death. Commonly working in house paints, he specialised in visceral, brutally amusing depictions of bestial men and dismembered animals, his purportedly edgy, roguish lifestyle and the often dark or disturbing nature of his work making him something of a celebrity outside of art circles. Thirteen times an Archibald finalist between 1997 and 2012, he won the prize for his portrait of actor David Wenham, painted in 'three or four hours' in 2000.

Photographer George Fetting considers this work a collaboration between him and his subject. 'The concept was to photograph Adam through a sheet of glass as he worked his magic and I documented his progress through the lens,' Fetting says. 'It was an honour to spend some time with him before his very untimely and premature demise.'

Purchased with funds provided by Alan Dodge AM & Neil Archibald 2019
© George Fetting/Copyright Agency, 2022

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

George Fetting (age 41 in 2005)

Adam Cullen (age 40 in 2005)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

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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 past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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