Skip to content

Collection

All

Search

Australian art

View More:


Title

Self portrait

1941


Artist

Justin O'Brien

Australia, Italy

02 Aug 1917 - 17 Jan 1996


About

Growing up in south-western Sydney, Justin O’Brien left school at the age of 14 to begin private lessons with Edward M Smith, a portrait painter and teacher at East Sydney Technical College. O’Brien drew from anatomical casts and painted still-life arrangements set by his teacher. After four years of study he taught at various convent schools and became involved in the NSW branch of the Contemporary Art Society.

Enlisting in 1940, O’Brien was captured by the German army and spent almost three years in a prison camp, first near Athens and then in Poland. At the camp, O’Brien set up an art class, where his students drew and painted one another. This rare self-portrait was painted during O’Brien’s internment in Greece, and attests to his embrace of modernist modes of expression, which he studied through books available in the camp’s library.


Details


Place where the work was made

Greece


Date

1941


Media category

Painting


Materials used

oil on cardboard (army medical supply box)


Dimensions

41.7 x 26.0 cm board


Signature & date

Signed and dated u.l. corner, dark brown oil "O'Brien/ 1941".


Credit

Purchased with funds provided by the De La Salle Brothers 2010


Location

Not on display


Accession number

61.2010


Artist information

Justin O'Brien

Works in the collection

20


Place

Where the work was made
Greece

Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history


Referenced in 2 publications

Bibliography


Natalie Wilson, Justin O'Brien: the sacred music of colour, 'Justin O’Brien and the art of transfiguration', pg. 23-145, Sydney, 2010, 28, 30 (colour illus.), 157, 163. cat.no. 3

Natalie Wilson, Justin O'Brien catalogue supplement, Sydney, 2010, 4. cat.no. 3