Skip to main content

The National Portrait Gallery is temporarily closed to the public until further notice.

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.

Self portrait

Elegance in exile

Portrait drawings from colonial Australia
Previous exhibition, 2012

Elegance in exile is an exhibition surveying the work of Richard Read senior, Thomas Bock, Thomas Griffiths Wainewright and Charles Rodius: four artists who, though exiled to Australia as convicts, created many of the most significant and elegant portraits of the colonial period.

Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and Captain Charles Ulm

Uncommon Australians

Towards an Australian Portrait Gallery
Previous exhibition, 1992

In 1988 philanthropists Gordon and Marilyn Darling decided to make an Australian portrait gallery a reality, overseeing the development of the 1992 touring exhibition Uncommon Australians.

Albert Namatjira

Sir William Dargie

A Ninetieth Birthday Tribute
Previous exhibition, 2002

As a tribute to Sir William Dargie's singular contribution to Australian art and cultural institutions, and on the occasion of his birthday, The Australian War Memorial, Parliament House and the National Portrait Gallery will mount exhibitions of his work between May and October

Charles, 2015 video: 7 minutes

Digital Portraiture Award 2016

Previous exhibition, 2016

An annual event to extend traditional notions of portraiture and foster emerging artists with an interest in new technology.

Jack Charles

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2012

Previous exhibition, 2012

The National Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition is selected from a national field of entries that reflect the distinctive vision of Australia's aspiring and professional portrait photographers and the unique nature of their subjects.

Hetti

Beauty and strength

Portraits by Michael Riley
Previous exhibition, 2014

Influential Indigenous Australian artist Michael Riley (1960 - 2004) created these portrait photographs between 1984 and 1990 - they stand as an intricately connected group portrait of the vibrant urban-based Indigenous arts community in Sydney's inner-west at a formative moment.

Sir Frank Packer KBE

Judy Cassab

The artist's diary
Previous exhibition, 2013

The artist's diary profiles six decades of Cassab's work, from the early portrait commissions of the 1950s to later paintings that have helped confirm her eminent place in the canon of Australian portraiture.

Peter Sculthorpe

Peter Sculthorpe

A Celebration
Previous exhibition, 2009

To celebrate Peter Sculthorpe's 80th birthday, the National Portrait Gallery has created a feature exhibition of portraits and associated biographic material drawn from the National Portrait Gallery and the composer’s personal collection.

Copeman, gardener, Great Yarmouth by John Dempsey

Dempsey's people

A folio of British street portraits 1824–1844
Previous exhibition, 2017

Dempsey’s people: a folio of British street portraits 1824–1844 is the first exhibition to showcase the compelling watercolour images of English street people made by the itinerant English painter John Dempsey throughout the first half of the nineteenth century.

Maryan, 2010 by Rod McNicol

Life and time

Portraits by Rod McNicol
Previous exhibition, 2015

Australian photographer Rod McNicol has consistently analysed the passing of time through the evidence of the photographic portrait. At once confronting and tender, McNicol’s portrait photographs are bold and intimate. 

Tea time, c.1898–1902 by Rupert Bunny (1864–1947)

Impressions

Painting light and life
Previous exhibition, 2011

Impressions: Painting light and life presents portraits by, and of, artists at the heart of Australian impressionism including Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton and Frederick McCubbin.

Rachel Ward and Bryan Brown (detail), 2006 (printed 2020) © Peter Brew-Bevan

Australian Love stories

Family, friends, fanatics and foes (and everything in between!)
Previous exhibition, 2021

Reconnect and reflect with our new major exhibition, Australian Love Stories (in real life!) as we explore love, affection and connection in all its guises.

Decorative portrait – Len Lye, c.1925 by Rayner Hoff (1894-1937)

Presence and Absence

Portrait Sculpture in Australia
Previous exhibition, 2003

This exhibition focuses on exploring national and communal identity through sculptural production in Australia, from the early decades of settlement through to the present day

William Barak at work on the drawing ‘Ceremony’ at Coranderrk

The Reflecting Eye

Portraits of Australian Visual Artists
Touring exhibition, 1996

As the first National Portrait Gallery travelling exhibition, The reflecting eye: portraits of Australian visual artists represents an important milestone in the history of Australia's National Portrait Gallery.

Elle Macpherson

Australian Visit

Previous exhibition, 2006

The exhibition will include works of art from the NPG Canberra's permanent collection with some inward loans and aims to highlight the achievements of notable Australians.

Angela Belgiorno-Zegna, 2001 by Salvatore Zofrea

Intimate Portraits

Previous exhibition, 2002

Intimate Portraits is an exhibition of paintings, drawings and prints that explore the less public side of portraiture

Norman Lindsay

Max Dupain

The Vintage Years
Previous exhibition, 2003

During his long and distinguished career Max Dupain took thousands of photographs of people

Jessie Street

First Ladies

Significant Australian Women 1913–2013
Previous exhibition, 2013

First Ladies profiles women who have achieved noteworthy firsts over the past 100 years.

William Johnson (1873—1948) by Percy Leason

Recognition

Percy Leason's Aboriginal Portraits
Previous exhibition, 1999

Originally conceived as an anthropological record, Percy Leason’s powerful 1934 portraits of Victorian Aboriginal people are today considered to be a highlight of 20th century Australian portraiture

Paul Kelly

Face the Music

Previous exhibition, 2005

Australia has become recognised for the range and talent of its musicians, composers, conductors and celebrities in general associated with the music industry

Marilyn Ball, Albatross, 2018 (detail) by Linde Ivimey

So Fine

Contemporary women artists make Australian history
Previous exhibition, 2018

This exhibition features new works from ten women artists reinterpreting and reimagining elements of Australian history, enriching the contemporary narrative around Australia’s history and biography, reflecting the tradition of storytelling in our country.

William Dobell

A Tribute to William Dobell

Previous exhibition, 1999

Adapted from A Tribute to William Dobell an exhibition presented by the Australian National University's Drill Hall Gallery in association with the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation, The National Gallery of Australia, and the Australian War Memorial. Dobell is of course, celebrated for his achievements in portraiture, winning the Archibald prize (1943, 1948 and 1959), the Wynne Prize (1948), and representing Australia at the 1954 Venice Biennale. Curator Mary Eagle concludes her essay in the catalogue of the exhibition thus, "Overall I see a dissonance in Dobell’s art and life

Self portrait with glove

To Look Within

Self Portraits in Australia
Previous exhibition, 2004

This exhibition is the first comprehensive survey of self-portraits in Australia, from the colonial period to the present

Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark

Portraits for Posterity

Previous exhibition, 2006

Drawn from some of the many donations made to the Gallery's collection, the exhibition Portraits for Posterity pays homage both to the remarkable (and varied) group of Australians who are portrayed in the portraits and the generosity of the many donors who have presented them to the Gallery.

Lee Kernaghan near Broken Hill

Australian of the Year

Inspiring a Nation
Previous exhibition, 2010

The Australian of the Year Awards have often provoked controversy about who is selected and whether their achievements are remarkable.

Sir Ian Potter

Mark Strizic

A Journey in Photography
Previous exhibition, 2004

This exhibition traces the creative output of nearly 50 years by one of Australia's landmark living photographers.

Cormac and Callum, 2008 by Ingvar Kenne

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2009

Previous exhibition, 2009

In its second year at the National Portrait Gallery, and for the first time touring to other venues, the National Photographic Portrait Prize 2009 continues to present surprising perspectives on the nature of contemporary portrait photography.

Ned Kelly death mask

Sideshow Alley

Infamy, the macabre & the portrait
Previous exhibition, 2015

Death masks, post-mortem drawings and other spooky and disquieting portraits... Come and see how portraits of infamous Australians were used in the 19th century.

Stan Coster, Manilla, NSW

Thousand Mile Stare

Portrait photography by John Elliott
Previous exhibition, 2004

Thousand mile stare provides a unique portrait of people of rural Australia

The Bathers, 1989

Hall of Mirrors

Anne Zahalka Portraits 1987-2007
Previous exhibition, 2007

Hall of Mirrors: Anne Zahalka Portraits 1987-2007 explores the thread of portraiture through the artist's prolific career, now spanning more than 20 years.

The rose, 1927

The World of Thea Proctor

Previous exhibition, 2005

The World of Thea Proctor is the Portrait Gallery's second major biographical exhibition - that is, the second exhibition to focus exclusively on the life and work of a single individual

Bob Hawke

Primed

Some Prime Ministers
Previous exhibition, 2019

Seventeen of Australia’s thirty prime ministers to date are represented in the contrasting sizes, moods and mediums of these portraits.

Betty Burstall

Arthur Boyd Portraits

Previous exhibition, 1999

This is the first in a series of National Portrait Gallery exhibitions to survey the portraits painted by artists who are not thought of, primarily, as portrait painters

Damien Parer

Mirror With A Memory

Photographic Portraiture in Australia
Previous exhibition, 2000

This is the first major exhibition to examine photographic portraiture in Australia, from its beginnings in the early 1840s to the present day

Thomas Sutcliffe Mort and his wife Theresa

Husbands and Wives

Photographic Portraits from 19th Century Australia
Previous exhibition, 2010

'I have just been to my dressing case to take a peep at you.

Bungaree, late chief of the Broken Bay tribe, Sydney

Heads of the People

A Portrait of Colonial Australia
Previous exhibition, 2000

For Tom Roberts - Australia's best nineteenth-century portrait painter - neither a proto-national portrait gallery nor more popular collections of portrait heads, were sufficient public celebrations for the notables of Australian history

Johnny O'Keefe

Making Portraits

Five Years of National Portrait Gallery Commissions
Previous exhibition, 2004

The considered matching of artist to subject has produced an amazing collection of unique and original works in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery

Prince William of Wales, by Mario Testino, 2003 publ. September 2003.
Credit: Mario Testino

Vanity Fair Portraits

Photographs 1913-2008
Previous exhibition, 2009

Vanity Fair Portraits traces the birth and evolution of photographic portraiture through the archives of Vanity Fair magazine.

Shane Warne

Flash

Australian Athletes in Focus
Previous exhibition, 2006

Introduction The National Portrait Gallery’s photographic exhibition Flash: Australian Athletes in Focus explores various interpretations of Australian sporting men and women.

In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester

Depth of Field

Portrait Photography from the Collection
Previous exhibition, 2004

Over the last five years the National Portrait Gallery has developed a collection of portrait photographs that reflects both the strength and diversity of Australian achievement as well as the talents of our photographers.

Creatures of Leisure series (David 'Bird' Twohill)

Electric!

Portraits that pop!
Previous exhibition, 2018

Celebrate the Gallery’s 20th birthday summer with Electric! Portraits that pop! The collection exhibition features a mix of bright, bold and colourful paintings, prints and photographs, and buoyant video portraits.

The mahi-mahi, 2019 Rob Palmer

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2020

Previous exhibition, 2020

The exhibition is selected from a national field of entries, reflecting the distinctive vision of Australia's aspiring and professional portrait photographers and the unique nature of their subjects.

Andy Thomas

Uncommon Australians

The vision of Gordon and Marilyn Darling
Previous exhibition, 2015

This exhibition showcases portraits acquired through the generosity of the National Portrait Gallery’s Founding Patrons, L Gordon Darling AC CMG and Marilyn Darling AC.

Baz Luhrmann

Glossy 2

Faces, Magazines, Now
Previous exhibition, 2005

Following the success of Glossy: Faces, Magazines, Now in 1999 the National Portrait Gallery again highlights the huge array of contemporary portraiture in the pages of magazines.

Margaret Whitlam

Open Air

Portraits in the Landscape
Previous exhibition, 2008

Open Air is an exhibition of portraits of Australians in environments of particular significance to them.

Barry Humphries

Clifton Pugh

Australians
Previous exhibition, 2005

This exhibition offers a comprehensive display of Clifton Pugh's portraits revealing his development and growth from tonal paintings to a unique style that was in demand from politicians, artists, academics and Australian personalities.

Hugo at home (Hugo Weaving)

Nicholas Harding

28 Portraits
Previous exhibition, 2017

Nicholas Harding: 28 portraits features paintings of Robert Drewe, John Bell and Hugo Weaving alongside gorgeously coloured recent oil portraits, delicate gouaches and bold ink and charcoal drawings.

Margaret Fulton

Masters of Fare

Chefs, winemakers, providores
Previous exhibition, 2004

Masters of fare: chefs, winemakers, providores celebrates men and women who have championed the unique culinary characteristics and produce of Australia, enriching our lives with new ideas and new flavours over the past forty years.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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