Character Traits: Portraits from the MPRG Collection

ROBERTS Tom_Marie Wisher_2014.21.jpg

An MPRG exhibition

28 September – 26 November 2017


trait
a distinguishing quality or characteristic, typically one belonging to a person. Origin: mid-16th century: from French, from Latin tractus ‘drawing, draught’. An early sense was ‘stroke of the pen or pencil in a picture’, giving rise to the sense ‘a particular feature of mind or character’ (mid-18th century).


With over 150 examples of portraiture in the MPRG collection it is clear that portrait making is an enduring focus for many artists. But what is it that attracts an artist to capture a person’s ‘distinguishing quality’ in a picture, who are artists choosing to paint and how does the relationship between artist and sitter influence the work?

Character Traits draws together over 60 portraits from the collection across three relationship themes: the familiar – artists’ children, siblings, partners and parents; the artist – other painters, writers and patrons; and the self.

Each work is made in the context of its own era, reflecting both simple and complex relationships through the eyes of the artist. The exhibition will draw out the connection between artists, sitters and donors that run through the MPRG collection and celebrate the infinite diversity of approaches and styles.

Artists include Tom Roberts, Janet Cumbrae-Stewart, Arthur Boyd, Fred Williams, Noel Counihan, Richard Larter, Louis Kahan, Pam Hallandal, Farrell and Parkin, Mike Parr and Gareth Sansom.

Free guided tours: Saturday & Sundays 3pm, no bookings required.

Image: Tom Roberts Marie Wischer 1895 pastel Gift of Beverly Brown in memory of her father Dr Joseph Brown AO OBE, 2014