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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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Robert Klippel

c. 1990
Rosemary Madigan

pastel on paper (sheet: 76.1 cm x 56.1 cm)

In 1947 Rosemary Madigan and Robert Klippel AO were part of a remarkable cohort of students of sculpture at the East Sydney Technical College, and became two of Australia's most significant sculptors. In love, as in art, each took the path less travelled, and it took nearly 30 years for their friendship to morph into what became an enduring creative and romantic union. Having initially taken divergent paths in travel and life, the artists reconnected in 1973 and began a professional and personal relationship that lasted until Klippel’s death in 2001.

Though Madigan taught drawing for many years, she is known primarily as a sculptor. In this drawing we see Klippel's private self – not 'the-artist-in-his-studio' but the man at home wearing a favoured shirt (pink was his favourite shirt colour). As Madigan's daughter Alice Giles AM noted: 'Mum was especially proud that she caught a softness and gentleness about him that she felt reflected her own special insight and experience of his personality.' Madigan kept this work until her death in 2019.

Purchased 2020
© Rosemary Madigan/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

Rosemary Madigan (age 64 in 1990)

Robert Klippel AO (age 70 in 1990)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

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Robert Klippel
Robert Klippel
Robert Klippel
Robert Klippel

A bond of friendship

Magazine article by Yvonne Audette AM, 2005

Australia's major abstract painter Yvonne Audette discusses her portrait of sculptor Robert Kippel.

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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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