Skip to main content

Shakespeare to Winehouse open 9:00am–7:00pm on Thu, Fri, Sat from 7 July

Menu

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 Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Penelope Seidler

2019 (printed 2021)
Anne Zahalka

pigment ink print on paper, edition 1/1 + 2 A/P (image: 80.0 cm x 67.0 cm, sheet: 93.0 cm x 80.0 cm)

Penelope Seidler AM (b. 1938), architect and arts patron, was one of the three children of barrister and state parliamentarian Clive Evatt QC and his wife Marjorie. She studied philosophy, history and anthropology at the University of Sydney before switching to architecture, and met Vienna-born architect Harry Seidler in 1957. 'There was something about his power of expression and determination that I thought: this is what I want,' she has recollected. They married in December 1958. Director of Harry Seidler & Associates since 1966, she has held positions on the councils of the Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Gallery of Australia, the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Venice Biennale. She has endowed architecture professorships and scholarships at the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney; and in 2015 she donated $750,000 towards the establishment of Sydney University's Chau Chak Wing Museum.

Anne Zahalka's portrait depicts Penelope in the house she designed with her husband, where she has lived since it was built in 1967. Zahalka's work often alludes to art historical traditions – in this case, the device of the 'portrait-within-a-portrait' to evoke the memory and presence of someone who has passed away. In the background is a portrait of the Seidlers by Petrina Hicks, taken the year before Harry's death in 2006.

Purchased 2021
© Anne Zahalka/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

Anne Zahalka (age 62 in 2019)

Penelope Seidler AM (age 81 in 2019)

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.

The cook (Michael Schmidt/architect), 1987
The cook (Michael Schmidt/architect), 1987
The cook (Michael Schmidt/architect), 1987
The cook (Michael Schmidt/architect), 1987

Hall of mirrors

Magazine article by Naomi Cass, 2007

Naomi Cass, Director of the Centre of Contemporary Photography, in conversation with Anne Zahalka.

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

The Gallery

Visit us, learn with us, support us or work with us! Here’s a range of information about planning your visit, our history and more!

© National Portrait Gallery 2022
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency