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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.

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

Phrenology video: 3 minutes 25 seconds

Judge a person by their cover

Death masks and phrenology
General content

Alexandra Roginski explains the history behind the pseudo-science of phrenology, popular in the nineteenth century.

Ned Kelly death mask

Sideshow Alley: Infamy, the macabre & the portrait

5 December 2015
Archived media releases 2015

Bushrangers, oddities, true crime and scandal come together in this modern day cabinet of curiosities.

Fans at an Easybeats concert, Sydney Stadium, 1965 Bob King

Oz Origins

A little bit louder now
General content

Australia’s passion for rock ‘n roll was kindled by American and British acts in the 1950s and 60s. The novel genre’s driving, licentious rhythms and voices captured imaginations and libidos, not to mention aspiring young musicians.

Penelope Grist

Karen Quinlan AM


Karen Quinlan AM took up her appointment as Director of the National Portrait Gallery in December 2018. Karen commenced her curatorial career in 1994 at National Gallery of Victoria before becoming Curator of Bendigo Art Gallery in 1996, and the Director of Bendigo Art Gallery from 2000 until 2018. Karen was a Professor of Practice and previously Director of the La Trobe Art Institute La Trobe University, a former Trustee of the State Library of Victoria, Board Member and former Chair of the Public Galleries Association of Victoria.

Cate Blanchett

Australians in Hollywood

Previous exhibition, 2003

Although perceived to be a recent phenomenon, the 'Aussie invasion' of Hollywood can actually be traced as far back as the early 1900s

Ian Thorpe

Collection: Icons

Volume Two
Previous exhibition, 2018

The second instalment of a display featuring bold contemporary portraits drawn from the collection. For the Gallery’s 20th birthday this display brings together a group contemporary photographic portraits of inspiring women and men.

Prime Minister Gough Whitlam pours soil into the hand of traditional land owner Vincent Lingiari

A handful of sand

Magazine article by Ellen Kent, 2007

Ellen Kent examines the portrait of Vincent Lingiari and Prime Minister Gough Whitlam taken by photographer Mervyn Bishop.

Barry Humphries

Lewis Morley

Myself and Eye
Previous exhibition, 2003

Lewis Morley has a great eye for a shot and a sharp ear for a pun

Neil Armfield
Neil Armfield
Neil Armfield

Neil Armfield, 2010

Adam Cullen
Portrait, oil on canvas

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Commissioned 2010

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.

Akira Isogawa

Peter Brew-Bevan Portraits

Previous exhibition, 2005

In this exhibition Sydney based photographer Peter Brew-Bevan brings together an intimate collection of works that highlight his passion for the genre of portraiture over the last 10 years

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.

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.

Dan Sultan

Dan the man

Magazine article by India Bednall, 2015

Martin Philbey’s portrait of Dan Sultan.

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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.

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