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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 Charles Blackman

1979
Judy Cassab AO CBE

oil on canvas (support: 116.8 cm x 126.5 cm, frame: 130.6 cm x 138 cm depth 3 cm, sight: 112 cm x 120 cm)

Charles Blackman OBE (1928-2018), artist, studied at East Sydney Technical College and worked as a press artist for the Sydney Sun before moving to Melbourne, where he came to the attention of art patron John Reed. With Reed's support, he began to produce his signature series of images, incorporating schoolgirls with flowers and Alice in Wonderland figures and motifs. He was a signatory to the Antipodean Manifesto (loosely, a defence of figuration against abstraction) in the early 1950s. After he won the Helena Rubenstein Scholarship in 1960, his work was shown in the important Whitechapel and Tate exhibitions in London in 1961-1962. Exhibiting prolifically throughout his career, over the 1970s he produced softer images of cats and gardens. In the early 1990s, a period during which he revisited themes of his early work, a Blackman retrospective show toured nationally. In 2004, previously unseen drawings from the collection of his erstwhile partner, Barbara Blackman, were exhibited at Eastgate and Holst, Melbourne. Charles Blackman is one very few Australian artists who has lived to see one of his paintings sell for more than a million dollars. Renowned especially for his drawing, he is represented in the National Gallery of Australia and all state galleries. The Blackman Art Hotel in Melbourne is themed around his work.

Gift of Warwick Evans 2021. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
© Judy Cassab/Copyright Agency, 2021

Artist and subject

Judy Cassab AO CBE (age 59 in 1979)

Charles Blackman OBE (age 51 in 1979)

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.

Self-portrait, 1962 by Judy Cassab
Self-portrait, 1962 by Judy Cassab
Self-portrait, 1962 by Judy Cassab
Self-portrait, 1962 by Judy Cassab

Flesh, figure and rock

Magazine article by Aimee Board, 2018

Aimee Board traces Judy Cassab’s path to the Australian outback, arriving at the junction of inspiration and abstraction.

Big bouquet of Blackmans

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2013

Dr. Sarah Engledow explores the context surrounding Charles Blackman's portrait of Judith Wright, Jack McKinney and their daughter Meredith.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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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 National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency