We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Self-portrait, head



Lyndon Dadswell


18 Jan 1908 – 07 Jan 1986

No image
  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    31.0 cm height
    Signature & date

    Signed 'L.DADSWELL'. Not dated.

    Gift of the Pyne family in memory of Stuart O’Callaghan and Kevin Gallagher 2022
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Estate of Lyndon Dadswell
    Artist information
    Lyndon Dadswell

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Born and trained in Sydney, Lyndon Dadswell is one of Australia’s most important post-war sculptors. He was the first sculptor to be appointed as an official war artist, during the Second World War, and one of a few sculptors to win the Wynne Prize, in 1933. Early art training at the Julian Ashton School (1924-25) led to sculpture study under Raynor Hoff at East Sydney Technical College (now the National Art School) from 1926. He later taught there from 1937 to 1966, influencing a generation of Australian sculptors. As an advocate for modern experimentation, he encouraged innovation in the arts and in practices outside of sculpture alone. While he produced and exhibited domestically-scaled work, his oeuvre also includes numerous commissions for public sculpture found around the country, through which he was instrumental in modernising the language of outdoor sculpture.

    This life-sized self-portrait was made when Dadswell was around 40 years old, after returning from World War II in which he’d been injured and spent nine months convalescing. Dadswell depicts himself in a dapper guise with a contemplative expression. The rugged, worked surface of the sculpture, the sideward gaze, suggests the active, stimulating mind for which he was known. While his work would become increasingly abstract in the 1950s, here Dadswell remained connected human likeness. However the expressionistic surface extends the psychological intensity of the figure and offering a sense of the mutable self that would further developed by modernist figurative sculptors in ensuing decades.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

Other works by Lyndon Dadswell

See all 11 works