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


Untitled study



Nick Mourtzakis

Greece, Australia

31 Aug 1951 –

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Melbourne Victoria Australia
    Media category
    Materials used
    pencil, conté, white chalk on two joined sheets of brown paper
    102.0 x 75.5 cm sheet; overall; 125.5 x 96.0 x 6.0 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated l.l., pencil "NICK MOURTZAKIS/ 1999".

    Gift of the Trustees of the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation 2000
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Nick Mourtzakis

    Reproduction requests

    Dobell Prize for Drawing
    Winner - 2000
    Artist information
    Nick Mourtzakis

    Works in the collection


  • About

    This drawing is a self-portrait made over a period of a year after the death of the artist’s mother, a time of intense emotional introspection for him. It began as a study for a painting, to examine scale, format and structure. The work extended beyond this very quickly and from an initial intention to spend several hours, the drawing involved me for several months … 'The drawing was made with and without reference to the mirror, in both artificial and natural light.
    The work engages the presence of mortality and grief (as well as) continuity …' (Nick Mourtzakis, 2000).

    A watercolour – 'Eleni Mourtzakis, the artist’s mother' 1984 – is in the Gallery’s collection (see Hendrik Kolenberg, Australian watercolours 1880s to 1990s: from the Gallery’s collection, AGNSW, Sydney, 1995, p 107).

    This work won the Dobell Prize for Drawing in 2000 and was acquired by the Gallery in 2000.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 4 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 6 publications

    • Megan Backhouse, The Age, ‘The secret artist’, pg. 3, Melbourne, 13 May 2000, 96 (colour illus.).

    • Elizabeth Cross, Look, 'Nick Mourtzakis', pg. 18-23, Sydney, May 2007, 18 (colour illus.).

    • Elizabeth Fortescue, The Daily Telegraph, ‘Drawing from the migrant experience’, pg. 106, Sydney, 31 Mar 2000, 106 (colour illus.).

    • Hendrik Kolenberg, Contemporary Australian Drawing: 20 years of the Dobell Prize for Drawing, ‘Introduction’, pg. 6-14, Sydney, 2012, 7, 34, 35 (colour illus.), 60.

    • Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, 'A fine harvest of drawings: legacy of an exceptional draughtsman', pg. 28-31, Sydney, Nov 2011, 30.

    • Hendrik Kolenberg, The Dobell Prize for Drawing: 1993-2004, ‘Introduction: the first ten years’, pg. 8-9, Sydney, 2004, 9, 30, 31 (colour illus.), 50, 53.

Other works by Nick Mourtzakis