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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.

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 repulsively and brutally amusing depictions of bestial men, flabby, bleeding women and dismembered animals, managing simultaneously to appear to sneer at, and identify unflinchingly with, the human condition. Thirteen times an Archibald finalist between 1997 and 2012, he won the Prize for his Portrait of David Wenham, painted in ‘three or four hours’ in 2000. In 2002 he represented Australia at the Sao Paulo Biennale, conjured up the book Hooky the Cripple with his friend Mark ‘Chopper’ Read, and was highly commended in the Doug Moran Prize. A feature film about Cullen, Acute Misfortune, was released in 2019. Cullen’s works are held by the National Gallery of Australia and the state galleries of New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia. The National Portrait Gallery has his painting of stage and opera director Neil Armfield; and of philanthropist Simon Mordant AM and his family.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by Alan Dodge AM & Neil Archibald 2019
© George Fetting/Copyright Agency, 2021

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

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.

Andrew Gaze video: 6 minutes 26 seconds
Andrew Gaze video: 6 minutes 26 seconds
Andrew Gaze video: 6 minutes 26 seconds
Andrew Gaze video: 6 minutes 26 seconds

Andrew Gaze

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Basketballer Andrew Gaze and photographer George Fetting.

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The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
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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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