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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.

Clifton Pugh painting in the studio

Painting mates

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2011

Michael Desmond discusses Fred Williams' portraits of friends, artist Clifton Pugh, David Aspden and writer Stephen Murray-Smith, and the stylistic connections between his portraits and landscapes.

Thua Tich, South Vietnam, 1969-06 by Christopher Bellis

The jungle look

Magazine article by David Gist, 2019

David Gist steps beyond the public relations veneer of Australia’s official Vietnam War portrait photographs.

Thomas Gainsborough, c.1758-59 by Thomas Gainsborough

Keep it in the family

Magazine article by David Solkin, 2019

David Solkin ponders the provocations and inspirations of the enigmatic Thomas Gainsborough.

Mary (or Diana) Croker, mat woman, Colchester, 1823 by John Dempsey

Unknown drawer

Magazine article by Dr David Hansen, 2017

Dempsey’s People curator David Hansen chronicles a research tale replete with serendipity, adventure and Tasmanian tigers.

Karlo, 2017 by David Rosetzky

Observation point

Magazine article by David Rosetzky, 2019

I work with portraiture as a way to explore the nuances and complexities of contemporary selfhood and subjectivity.

Federal Statistican Knibbs

The numbers man

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2011

Dr. Sarah Engledow tells the story of Australia's first Federal statistician, Sir George Knibbs.

Bob Ellis

Tribute

Bob Ellis
Magazine article, 2016

Bob Ellis (1942–2016) was a journalist, columnist, screenwriter, film director, playwright, speechwriter and critic.

Harry Seidler, Killara, Sydney

A Captured Moment

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2001

The acquisition of David Moore's archive of portrait photographs for the National Portrait Gallery's collection.

Adrian Rawlins

Earth to earth

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2013

Dr Sarah Engledow discusses the recent gift of works by David Campbell.

Ian Roberts (after Coypel 1709)

Super League

Magazine article by David Sequeira, 2004

The portrait of Ian Roberts by Ross Watson.

David Rastovich, 2010

Golden boy

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2010

Dr Christopher Chapman examines Scott Redford's photographic portrait of Australian surfer David 'Rasta' Rastovich.

Portrait of Cate Blanchett

Being Cate

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2009

A moving portrait of Cate Blanchett unfolds as an inspired pairing of medium and subject.

Portrait of Henry Vernon Crock AO

Private practice

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2008
David Smith portrayed Dr Henry Crock without the accoutrements of an orthopaedic surgeon, adding to the National Portrait Gallery's collection of eminent Australian medical practitioners.
Leigh Bowery in Fur Coat

Hyperversity

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

Dr Sarah Engledow writes about the larger-than-life Australian performance artist, Leigh Bowery.

Colin Madigan and Robert Hughes, Canberra

Three Dimensional

Magazine article by Kate Gollings, 2004

Kate Gollings describes an encounter between three generations of Australian photographers; David Moore, Max Dupain and John Gollings.

Portrait 2

December 2001 - February 2002
Magazine

This issue of Portrait Magazine features David Moore, Midnight Oil, Dr Joan Croll by John Brack, the acquisition of the Captain Cook portrait, and more.

Portrait 61

Summer 2018/19
Magazine

Max Dupain's unknown portrait subjects, phrenologist Madame Sibly, Indigenous-European relationships, Thomas Gainsborough and more.

Portrait 57

Winter 2017
Magazine

The discovery of Dempsey's People, Australian rugby greats, Athol Shmith's progressive pictures, and powerful Indigenous portraits.

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.

Portrait 63

Winter 2019
Magazine

Rod McNicol's method and motivation, 19th century Indigenous peoples, Barrie Cassidy on Bob Hawke, five generations of the Kang family from Korea and more.

Wainburranga (Paddy Fordham)

Big shots

Magazine article by Djon Mundine OAM, 2017

Djon Mundine OAM brings poignant memory and context to Martin van der Wal’s 1986 portrait photographs of storied Aboriginal artists.

Video still from Dream Job, 2011 by David M Thomas

My dream job

Magazine article by David Thomas, 2012

Artist David M Thomas lists some of the ideas and influences behind his video portraits.

Losing Faith, 2004 by Alexandra Cody

Time is precious

Magazine article by David Sequeira, 2004

Headspace5: Crystal Gazing highlighted the diversity of materials and techniques that young people use for self expression. David Sequeira presents a personal view of three works in the exhibition.

Jean-Paul Sartre, 1946

Insightful

Magazine article by Robert McFarlane, 2004

Henri-Cartier-Bresson invented the grammar for photographing life in the 20th century.

Camouflage self portrait, 1986

Hide/Seek

Magazine article by David Ward, 2010

David Ward writes about the exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture on display at the National Portrait Gallery, Washington.

Ma Khin Mar Mar Kyi

My Favourite Australian

Magazine article by Christine Clark, 2009

The Australian public was invited in 2008 to vote for their favourite Australian.  After the votes were tallied an exhibition of the top-ten Popular Australians and the top-twenty unsung heroes was displayed at the National Portrait Gallery.

Karen Gillan, 2010

Hot Scots

Magazine article by Christopher Baker, 2013

James Holloway describes the first portraits you encounter when entering the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

Cathy Freeman, 1994

Depth of Field

Magazine article by Lauren Dalla, 2004

The exhibition Depth of Field displays a selection of portrait photographs that reflect the strength and diversity of Australian achievement.

Lindy Lee

The long game

Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2020

Penelope Grist spends some quality time with the Portrait Gallery’s summer collection exhibition, Eye to Eye.

James Ford, 1979 by Robert Mapplethorpe

Apollo's breath

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2016

Christopher Chapman delights in the intimacy of Robert Mapplethorpe's photography

Self portrait

A guy from Paris

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2018

Sarah Engledow on a foundational gallery figure who was quick on the draw.

Nicole Kidman

9 lives of Karin Catt

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2006

Australian photographer Karin Catt has shot across the spectrum of celebrity, her subjects including rock stars, world leaders and actors.

Radical Restraint 
Justice Michael Kirby

A gift from the heart

Magazine article by Lauren Dalla, 2003

Lauren Dalla examines the life of Basil Bressler, the art patron responsible for one of the NPG's most important bequests.

David Campese II

Inspiration + Realisation: John Singer Sargent

Magazine article by Katherine Russell, 2006

Katherine Russell examines the art of Australian artist Paul Newton, referencing the portraiture of John Singer Sargent.

Arthur Boyd's studio

Boyd to man

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2016

Christopher Chapman looks at influences and insight in the formative years of Arthur Boyd.

Jack Brabham

Start Your Engines...

Magazine article by Catherine McDonough, 2006

The bronze sculpture by Julie Edgar reflects through both the material and representation the determined and straight-forward nature of Brabham. 

Moonboy, 2010

Observation point

Magazine article by Tim Storrier, 2013

Tim Storrier describes the influences on the development of his artistic style.

David Williamson

The Story So Far...

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2002

A reflection on the National Portrait Gallery's first four years.

Hélène Kirsova in Petrouchka

Vintage Max

Magazine article by Gael Newton, 2003

Gael Newton delves into the life and art of renowned Australian photographer, Max Dupain.

As long as you're here, 2013 by Tony Curran

Touchy touchy

Magazine article by Tony Curran, 2015

Tony Curran ponders whether our phones can change the course of painting.

"Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing?", 1956

Pop goes the preconception

Magazine article by Paul Moorhouse, 2007

A National Portrait Gallery, London exhibition redefines portraiture, shifting the focus towards a new perspective on Pop Art.

Sir Charles Lloyd Jones

Home and away

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

Sir William Dobell painted the portraits of Sir Charles Lloyd Jones and Sir Hudson Fysh, who did much to promote the image of Australia in this country and abroad.

Automatic for the people: Casey Stoner

Speed demon

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2009

Scott Redford discusses his dynamic portrait commission of motorcycling champion and 2008 Young Australian of the Year Casey Stoner.

Mick Jagger, Madonna and Tony Curtis, 1997

The Vanity model

Magazine article by David Friend, 2009

Vanity Fair Editor David Friend describes how the rebirth of the magazine sated our desire for access into the lives of celebrities and set the standard for the new era of portrait photography.

Installing David Walsh

On the road again

Magazine article by Dr Deborah Hill, 2017

Deborah Hill talks figures with character, as the National Portrait Gallery touring exhibitions program welcomes its millionth visitor.

Sidney Nolan, Western Australia

Cultural kaleidoscope

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

The complex connections between four creative Australians; Patrick White, Sidney Nolan, Robert Helpmann and Peter Sculthorpe.

Self Portrait in red shirt, 1937 by Arthur Boyd

Arthur as Alyosha?

Magazine article by Patrick McCaughey, 2015

Patrick McCaughey explores a striking Boyd self portrait.

Bon Scott & Angus Young, Atlanta, Georgia

No shirt, no service

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Bon Scott and Angus Young photographed by Rennie Ellis are part of a display celebrating summer and images of the shirtless male.

Margaret Whitlam

Glossy too

Magazine article by Christine Clark, 2005

The Glossy 2 exhibition highlights the integral role magazine photography plays in illustrating and shaping our contemporary culture.

Study for Aunty Mary King, 2010 by Mathew Lynn

The animating signature

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2019

Joanna Gilmore delights in the affecting drawings of Mathew Lynn.

JK Rowling, 2005

Why do painted portraits still matter?

Magazine article by Sandy Nairne, 2006

Lecture by Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London, given at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra on 28 April 2006.

Anne-Louise Lambert as Miranda Courtesy Picnic Productions

Rock star

Magazine article by Jennifer Coombes, 2018

Jennifer Coombes explores the lush images of Picnic at Hanging Rock, featuring Anne-Louise Lambert’s Miranda, the face of the film. 

Patrick White at Centennial Park, 1979–1980

Listomania

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2013

Sarah Engledow describes the fall-out once Brett Whiteley stuck Patrick White’s list of his loves and hates onto his great portrait of the writer.

Director John Duigan and actor Judy Davis on the set of ‘Winter of our Dreams’, Sydney, 1981 by Robert McFarlane

Natural born stiller

Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2016

Penelope Grist speaks to Robert McFarlane about shooting for the stars.

Self portrait, 1645

The considered life

Magazine article by Andrew Sayers AM, 2010

Andrew Sayers asks whether a portrait can truly be the examination of a life.

Helen Blaxland judging flower arrangements, c. 1940s photographer unknown

Petal to the mettle

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2019

Sarah Engledow lauds the very civil service of Dame Helen Blaxland.

NPPP finalists

20 20

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2017

Sarah Engledow picks some favourites from a decade of the National Photographic Portrait Prize.

High school, 2008

Subtle emotion

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2010

Christopher Chapman considers photographer Rozalind Drummond's portrait of author Nam Le.

Dr Peter Farrell

Giving and getting

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2006

The exhibition Portraits for Posterity celebrates gifts to the Gallery, of purchases made with donated funds, and testifies to the generosity and community spirit of Australians.

Revd Dr Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch, c.1795 by Sir Henry Raeburn

Great Scots

Magazine article by Diana O'Neil, 2017

Diana O’Neil samples the tartan treats on offer in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

Les Murray

Poets' Portraits

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005

The Portrait Gallery's paintings of two poets, Les Murray and Peter Porter, demonstrate two very different artists' responses to the challenge of representing more than usually sensitive and imaginative men.

Untitled #21/09 (after Ricci, 1700; featuring Matthew Mitcham)

Getting bare

Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2015

How seven portraits within Bare reveal in a public portrait parts of the body and elements of life usually located in the private sphere.

Marilyn Darling AC

Support Crew

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2011

Portraits of philanthropists in the collection honour their contributions to Australia and acknowledge their support of the National Portrait Gallery.

‘Untitled’ - Yellow Kangaroo Paw, 2008 by Christian Thompson

The 'I' in Indigenous art

Magazine article by Jane Raffan, 2013

Jane Raffan examines unique styles of Indigenous portraiture that challenge traditional Western concepts of the artform.

Portrait of Cate Blanchett

The transparent mask

Magazine article by Karen Vickery, 2015

Cate Blanchett and the art of acting in Rosetzky’s digital portrait.

Vanity Fair, April, 2004

International issue

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

Michael Desmond looks at the history of the Vanity Fair magazine in conjunction with the exhibition Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913-2008

Eileen Dunne in The Hospital for Sick Children, 1940

The incomparable Beaton

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005

To accompany the exhibition Cecil Beaton: Portraits, held at the NPG in 2005, this article is drawn from Hugo Vickers's authorised biography, Cecil Beaton (1985).

Louis XVI giving final instructions to the Comte de La Perouse, c. 1785

Sea legged frogs

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2011

Joanna Gilmour describes some of the stories of the individuals and incidents that define French exploration of Australia and the Pacific.

[Self-portrait], 1996

Reveries

Magazine article by Helen Ennis, 2007

The exhibition Reveries: Photography and mortality is a powerful display which brings together images that depict the last phase of people's lives.

Bed piece, 1972 by Chris Burden

The boy, the bed and the gun

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2016

Christopher Chapman contemplates the provocative performance art of Chris Burden. 

Sam and the Perfect World, 2005

The news from Washington

Magazine article by Lauretta Morton, 2006

Australia's former Cultural Attache to the USA, Ron Ramsey, describes the mood at the opening week of the revitalised American National Portrait Gallery.

Margot Rhys, 1935 by Athol Shmith

Progressive pictures

Magazine article by Aimee Board, 2017

Athol Shmith’s photographs contributed to the emergence of a new vision of Australian womanhood.

Portrait of Florence Broadhurst

Be bold

Magazine article by Katherine Russell, 2007

The name of Florence Broadhurst, one of Australia’s most significant wallpaper and textile designers, is now firmly cemented in the canon of Australian art and design.

Vincent Brady leading anti Bicentenary Protest, Brisbane, 1987 Michael Aird

Activating the space

Magazine article by Sandra Phillips, 2020

Sandra Phillips on portraits of Indigenous activism from Cairns Art Gallery’s 2019 Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture exhibition.

 

The hunting lodge, 2007

Seduce Amuse Entertain

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2007

Michael Desmond profiles a handful of the entrants in first National Photographic Portrait Prize and notes emerging themes and categories.

Miss Alesandra, 2010

The more things change

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2011

National Photographic Portrait Prize curator, Sarah Engledow, finds reward in a difficult task and ultimately uncovers the essence of portraiture.

Self portrait, 1954

A sketch for some portraits

Magazine article by Judith Pugh, 2005

Judith Pugh reflects on Clifton Pugh's approach to portrait making.

Staffordshire bull terrier belonging to the Rev. John Gower, 1851

Essential portraiture

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2011

Michael Desmond in conversation with University of Houston professor of philosophy Cynthia Freeland.

Me

Donated duo

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

Dr Sarah Engledow writes about the gift of two striking paintings by the Australian artist Ken Done AM.

Recollections of a sinologist sitter

Magazine article by Professor Stephen FitzGerald AO, 2016

Professor Stephen Fitzgerald, Australia’s first Ambassador to China, traces the historical course from sino-australian cultural engagement to a maturing Australian identity.

Kinky Night. Impressions Club, 1987

Aussies all

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2006

The exhibition Aussies all features the ecclectic portrait photography of Rennie Ellis which captures Australian life during the 70s and 80s.

Karl Robert, Count Nesselrode, 1818 by Sir Thomas Lawrence

The Lawrence lustre

Magazine article by Angus Trumble, 2019

Angus Trumble salutes the glorious portraiture of Sir Thomas Lawrence.

The National Portrait Gallery

In the galleries

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2009

Christopher Chapman highlights the inaugural hang of the new National Portrait Gallery building which opened in December 2008.

Paul Kelly 30.11.1980 by Liz Reed

Pop poet

Magazine article by Dr Anne Sanders, 2013

Dr Anne Sanders previews the works in the new focus exhibition Paul Kelly and The Portraits.

Sir Macfarlane Burnet

Picture this...

Magazine article by Andrew Sayers AM, 2003

This edited version of a speech by Andrew Sayers examines some of the antecedents of the National Portrait Gallery and set out the ideas behind the modern Gallery and its collection.

Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil de Cavagnial, Marquis de Vaudreuil, ca.1753-55

Canadian identities

Magazine article by Lilly Koltun, 2004

An exploration of national identity in the Canadian context drawn from the symposium Face to Face at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in 2004.

Captain James Cook

Rethinking foundational histories

Magazine article by Kate Fullagar, 2019

A focus on Indigenous-European relationships underpins Facing New Worlds. By Kate Fullagar.

Portrait of Troppo Architects, 2009

Thinking about architecture and portraiture

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2009

Dr Christopher Chapman describes the experimental exhibition Portraits + Architecture

Lottie Lyell as Doreen by Monte Luke

Their brilliant careers

Magazine article by Jenny Gall, 2017

Jenny Gall delves into Starstruck to celebrate some of Australian cinema’s iconic women.

One hundred days at 7pm 2015 by Fiona McMonagle

Self-effacing

Magazine article by Michael Wardell, 2016

Michael Wardell samples the fare in the University of Queensland National Self-portrait Prize.

Self portrait

Of ice and men

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2009

Frank Hurley's celebrated images document the heroism and minutiae of Australian exploration in Antarctica.

Tony Bilson

Eating the seasons

Magazine article by Dr Anne Sanders, 2019

Anne Sanders imbibes Tony Bilson’s gastronomic revolution.

Albert Jonas and John Xiniwe of The African Choir, 1891 London Stereoscopic Co.

Back in black

Magazine article by Krysia Kitch, 2017

Krysia Kitch reviews black chronicles at the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Geoffrey Graham

The mind's eye

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2017

Christopher Chapman takes a trip through the doors of perception, arriving at the junction of surrealism and psychoanalysis.

Portrait of Captain James Cook RN

Unbuttoning uniforms

Magazine article by Sharon Peoples, 2017

Sharon Peoples contemplates costumes and the construction of identity.

Professor Peter Doherty

Friends and Acquaintances

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005

Dr. Sarah Engledow discusses a collection of drawings and prints by the Victorian artist Rick Amor acquired in 2005.

Self portrait

Home truths

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2013

Despite once expressing a limited interest in the self portrait, the idea of it has figured strongly in much of Tracey Moffatt's work and has done so in some of her most distinctive and compelling images.

First-Class Marksman, 1946 by Sidney Nolan

Money for Myth

Magazine article by Jane Raffan, 2015

Australian character on the market by Jane Raffan.

Sydney city (Patrick White and Tom Uren, Hiroshima Day demonstration), 1984

The activist A-list

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2007

Dr Sarah Engledow examines a number of figures in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery who were pioneers or substantial supporters of the seminal Australian environmental campaigns of the early 1970s and 1980s.

Dulcie Deamer, c. 1920

Out of the shadows

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2013

Joanna Gilmour profiles the life and times of the shutter sisters May and Mina Moore.

Self Portrait, 1963–64

What price self?

Magazine article by Jane Raffan, 2013

Jane Raffan investigates auction sales of self portraits nationally and internationally.

Sir Lawrence Wackett

Starry knight

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Aircraft designer, pilot and entrepreneur, Sir Lawrence Wackett rejoins friends and colleagues on the walls of the National Portrait Gallery.

Madame Sibly, Phrenologist and Mesmerist

Sibly irresistible

Magazine article by Alexandra Roginski, 2019

Alexandra Roginski reveals a forceful feminist figure in the colonial period’s slippery science, phrenology.

Jacki Weaver

Flash mob

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2019

Sarah Engledow trains her exacting lens on the nine photographs from 20/20.

Artist and wife near Arthurs Seat, 1969

Through blue eyes

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

Works by Arthur Boyd and Sidney Nolan bring the desert, the misty seashore and the hot Monaro plains to exhibition Open Air: Portraits in the landscape.

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, 1885-86 by 
John Singer Sargent

A feast of friends

Magazine article by Richard Ormond, 2015

John Singer Sargent: a painter at the vanguard of contemporary movements in music, literature and theatre.

David Marr, 2011 by Nicholas Harding

Through thick and thin

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2017

Sarah Engledow likes the manifold mediums of Nicholas Harding’s portraiture.

Dame Mary Gilmore

Painting writing

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2007

Dr Sarah Engledow explores the portraits of writers held in the National Portrait Gallery's collection.

The Right Honourable Sir Ninian Stephen KGAK GCMG GCVO KBE QC, 2006 by Rick Amor

Prima facie

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2019

Sarah Engledow casts a judicious eye over portraits in the Victorian Bar’s Peter O’Callaghan QC Portrait Gallery.

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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.

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