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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.

Therese Desmond
Therese Desmond
Therese Desmond

Therese Desmond, 1919-1920

James Burnside
Portrait, watercolour on paper

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Madeleine Howell 2013

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Michael Desmond

Biography

Michael Desmond worked at the National Portrait Gallery first as Senior Curator from 2006 to 2011 then as Deputy Director until 2012.

The Gladiators (Norm Provan and Arthur Summons)

Who's that?

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

Michael Desmond discusses the iconic picture of two Rugby League players which became known as 'The Gladiators'.

Aung San Suu, 2009 by Shepard Fairey

OBEY

Shepard Fairey Posters
Previous exhibition, 2009

Shepard Fairey is best known for his iconic poster Obama/Hope which he made in support of Barack Obama for the 2008 US election.

Study for self-portrait, 1963

Inside outside

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2010

Michael Desmond explores the portraiture of Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud.

In the Lounge, 2006 by North Sullivan

Seduce, Amuse, Entertain

NPPP 2007 exhibition essay
General content

Michael Desmond, National Photographic Portrait Prize judge and curator, introduces the 2007 Prize.

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.

Lauren in Red, 2003

Is the truth of portraiture vested exclusively in likeness?

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2006

Curator Michael Desmond introduces the exhibition Truth and Likeness, an investigation of the importance of likeness to portraiture.

Facing Australia, Composite portrait: Facing St Lucia, 2003

Conflicting images

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2008

Michael Desmond reveals the origins of composite portraits and their evolution in the pursuit of the ideal.

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

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.

Lucy, 2001

Technical terminology

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2010

Michael Desmond introduces some of the ideas behind the exhibition Present Tense: An imagined grammar of portraiture in the digital age.

Damon, singer, 2000 by Julian Opie

Movement is my radar

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2015

Michael Desmond charts the path of portraiture, arriving at Julian Opie’s digital realm.

Lucy, 2001

Present Tense

An Imagined Grammar of Portraiture in the Digital Age
Previous exhibition, 2010

Technology has been a major influence on art since the invention of the camera, particularly in the field of portraiture.

Lindy Lee - Birth and Death, 2006 by Robert Scott-Mitchell

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2007

Previous exhibition, 2007

Photography is the most pervasive and popular medium for portraiture and makes a natural fit with the Gallery, being a natural extension of the Gallery's longstanding commitment to photography as a contemporary portrait medium.

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.

Elizabeth (Murray) 2000

Extremely generous and incredibly close

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2010

Michael Desmond examines the daguerreotype portraits created by American artist Chuck Close.

Guns and roses, 2006

Obey

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

Michael Desmond investigates the street art of Shepard Fairey, who was catapulted to fame during the 2008 presidential election with his resonant image of Barack Obama.

Martin Schoeller 2008

The God-shaped hole

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2010

Exploring the photographs of Martin Schoeller, Michael Desmond delves into the uneasy pact that exists between celebrity and the camera.

Daniel Whitechurch and Laura McKellar, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia, 2009 by Nikki Toole

Skater

Portraits by Nikki Toole
Previous exhibition, 2012

Nikki Toole has travelled the world to photograph skateboarders.

Alexander Pearce
executed for murder
July 19th 1824

Public hanging

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2008

As a convict Thomas Bock was required to sketch executed murders for science; as a free man, fashionable society portraits.

Frame from Self portrait, 2008

I walk the line

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

Bruce Petty's animated self portrait captures a life's journey compressed into a few minutes.

Portrait of Truganini, daughter of the Chief of Bruny Island, Van Diemens Land, c. 1835

Black and white history

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

English artist Benjamin Duterrau took up the cause of the Indigenous peoples of Tasmania with his detailed and sympathetic renderings.

Self Portrait with fruit, 2004

Tender tragedies

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2006

George Foxhill's self portraits were the subject of a small focus display at the National Portrait Gallery in 2006.

Potters' Portrait Pot

Of human clay

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

The first collaborative commission has arrived. It's a self portrait, it's ceramic and it's from Hermannsburg.

Portrait of a Man (Fred Williams), 1958

Head, hand, heart

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2007

An extensive selection of portraits by John Brack were on display at the National Portrait Gallery in late 2007.

Neil Murray

True fella

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2011

Michael Desmond profiles the Australian songwriter and performer Neil Murray and his contribution to Australian music.

Dr Brown and Green Old Time Waltz

Where the wild things are

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

Michael Desmond explores the complex portrait of Dr Bob Brown by Harold 'The Kangaroo' Thornton.

Edward Paine Butler

Poison pen

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2010

Michael Desmond examines the career of the eighteenth-century suspected poisoner and portrait artist Thomas Griffiths Wainewright.

Nicole Kidman, New York

Penn on paper

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

Michael Desmond discusses Irving Penn's photographic portrait of Nicole Kidman.

Irina Baronova (handing on the baton)

Handing on the baton

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

Michael Desmond explores the life of ballerina Irina Baranova through the portrait by Australian artist Jenny Sages.

Senator Bonner

Black tie or wombat: How formal should I go?

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2008

Michael Desmond discusses the portrait of Senator Neville Bonner by Robert Campbell Jnr.

Blue Mountain, Owner, Trainer, Jockey, James Scobie

Sure thing

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

Blue Mountain, Owner, Trainer, Jockey, James Scobie 1887 by Frederick Woodhouse Snr. is a portrait of James Scobie, well known jockey and eminent horse trainer.

Frank Fenner AC CMG MBE

The highest honour

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2007

Bringing eminent scientist Frank Fenner and artist Jude Rae together for the National Portrait Gallery commission was like matchmaking.

The last of England 1855

Pre-Raphaelite Profile

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2006

In 2006 the National Portrait Gallery acquired a splendid portrait of Victoria's first governor, Lieutenant Governor Charles Joseph La Trobe by Thomas Woolner.

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, 2006

The painter and the princess

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2006

Michael Desmond interviews Ralph Heimans about his portrait of Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.

Bee Miles

Good, bad and the ugly

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2007

Michael Desmond explores what makes a portrait subject significant.

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.

Errol Flynn
Errol Flynn
Errol Flynn

Errol Flynn, 1938 (printed 2008)

George Hurrell
Portrait, gelatin silver photograph on paper

Gift of Michael Desmond 2012

Self Portrait with fruit, 2004

George Foxhill

Self Portraits
Previous exhibition, 2006

Foxhill's portraits are more concerned with describing an emotional and psychological state than the surface topography of the human face.

"The determined" Self portrait, 2002

George Foxhill
Portrait, oil and resin on canvas

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2007

Self portrait 1955

Portrait of the artist as a young man

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Dr Sarah Engledow explores the early life and career of John Brack.

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.

Layne Beachley

Everybody's heard about the bird

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2008

Two professionals; Australian surfer Layne Beachley and photographer Petrina Hicks, combine their strengths to achieve a remarkable portrait.

Self Portrait (Textanude) by Arlene TextaQueen

Animated

Self Portraits Online
Previous exhibition, 2008

Animated is the National Portrait Gallery's first online exhibition.

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.

Pat and Richard Larter, Luddenham, 1970s

Pin-ups

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2008

Christopher Chapman describes the art and life of Australian artist Richard Larter.

Silent Strength, 2021 Wayne Quilliam

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2022

Previous exhibition, 2022

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.

Mural of Italian/Roman actress Anna Magnani (1908­–1973) with face mask, April 2020 Unknown artist

Of plague and portraits

About Face article

Corinna Cullen on the symbolic power of pandemic-related imagery over the ages.

Waterfall in Australia, c. 1830 by Augustus Earle

Augustus serendipitous

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2016

The London-born son of an American painter, Augustus Earle ended up in Australia by accident in January 1825. 

Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Confessional conversations

The portraiture of Kristin Headlam
Magazine article by Fiona Gruber, 2015

Fiona Gruber investigates the work of Australian painter Kristin Headlam.

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Portrait Donors

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

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
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 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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