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


Janet Laurence



John Beard

Wales, Australia

1943 –

  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    oil and wax on linen
    180.0 x 180.0 cm
    Purchased 2007
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © John Beard

    Reproduction requests

    Archibald Prize
    Winner - 2007
    Artist information
    John Beard

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Janet Laurence’s work has been described as echoing architecture while retaining a sense of the instability and transience found in nature; John Beard’s artist portraits share similar qualities. While painting the structure, or architecture, of his sitters’ heads and faces, he also aims to capture a sense of fleeting, ever changing expression.

    From this collaboration of artists and artists-as-subject, a kind of double portraiture is possible. Without the use of colour to highlight the differences or similarities between the subjects, Beard focuses the viewer’s attention not just on the individual sitter but on the structure of the painting itself. Light also plays an important role, allowing the eye to move around the forms to fully appreciate their sculptural qualities.

    Beard is a painter of the late 20th century whose subject is as much painting itself as the object he renders. In the history of portrait painting there is a fascinating debate that goes back to the mid 19th century. This is the question of authenticity of the image. It is not an issue of faithfulness to the illusion, but to a kind of presence that is realised through the fracture of the work.

    Beard was awarded the 2007 Archibald Prize for this portrait of Janet Laurence. This work was acquired by the Gallery in 2007.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

Other works by John Beard

See all 12 works