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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.

Dr Joseph Brown with Two Typists

1996
Noel McKenna

enamel on canvas (150 cm x 180 cm)

Joseph Brown AO OBE (1918-2009), art collector and art dealer, arrived in Australia from Poland in 1933. He studied painting and sculpture, and exhibited his own art in 1963-4, but mostly early in his life he set aside his artistic ambitions to engage in business and support his family. By 1967, he was in a position to open the Joseph Brown Gallery in Collins Street, Melbourne, at which he frequently showed mixed exhibitions of contemporary Australian art. Over time, Brown built up one of the finest private art collections in Australia, and made such substantial contributions to Australian art that he was awarded three honorary doctorates. In 2004 the National Gallery of Victoria accepted Brown's gift of some 160 works from his collection, valued at $35 million; two hundred more works, of similar value, were auctioned.

Gift of the artist 2021. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
© Noel McKenna/Copyright Agency, 2021
John Brack 'Two Typists' 1995 is kindly reproduced with permission from Helen Brack

Artist and subject

Noel McKenna (age 40 in 1996)

Joseph Brown AO OBE (age 78 in 1996)

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.

A quiet moment

Magazine article by Helene Ladomirska, 2006

As Bryan Westwood’s portrait of Brian Dunlop hangs adjacent to Brian Dunlop’s portrait of the philanthropist Dr Joseph Brown AO OBE, we see the artist of one work as the subject of the other. 

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Fax +61 2 6102 7001
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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