Australian portraits 1880–1960

Feature image
Hugh Ramsay, (1877 - 1906) Miss Nellie Patterson, 1903 Melbourne, Victoria, oil on canvas, 122.3 x 92.2 cm, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 1966

Australian portraits 1880–1960


Impressive portraits from the National Gallery of Australia – some of them on show for the first time in regional Queensland – will be on display at the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery, Gladstone.


Bushrangers, flappers and fashion icons all figure in Australian portraits 1880 – 1960, a major national touring exhibition which opens to the public on Saturday 11 February 2012 until Saturday 12 May 2012.


The exhibition features 52 portraits by 34 leading Australian painters, including Tom Roberts, George W. Lambert, Grace Cossington Smith, Margaret Preston, Arthur Boyd, Sidney Nolan, Russell Drysdale and John Brack.


Australian portraits 1880 – 1960 is the first major portrait exhibition mounted by the National Gallery of Australia and will tour to galleries in Victoria, the Northern Territory, New South Wales, Tasmania and regional Queensland after its showing in Brisbane. 


“Major Australian portraits were among the first paintings purchased for the national art collection,” said Ron Radford AM, Director of the National Gallery of Australia.


“The portrait paintings included in this exhibition are among the finest of their time. This national touring exhibition is truly national; it includes portraits by artists and of sitters from every state”


The exhibition includes much-loved paintings from the Gallery’s collection in addition to little-known works and two recently acquired pieces, providing the Gladstone region with a rare glimpse into the remarkable world of Australian portraiture.   


Australian portraits 1880–1960 will be accompanied by a full colour 160-page catalogue available for purchase. The exhibition is curated by National Gallery of Australia Head of Australian Art Anna Gray.  This exhibition is part of the National Gallery of Australia’s extensive program of sharing the national collection with the whole of Australia.

The exhibition is supported by the National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program, an Australian Government program aiming to improve access to the national collections for all Australians; and Visions of Australia, an Australian Government Program supporting touring exhibitions by providing funding assistance for the development and touring of cultural material across Australia. Its exhibition partner is the National Gallery of Australia Council Exhibitions Fund and media partner is ABC Capricornia. 


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