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Title

Self portrait

1941

Artist

Justin O'Brien

Australia, Italy

02 Aug 1917 - 17 Jan 1996

  • 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 frame 560(h) x 411 x 50mm
    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
    15th–19th c European art
    Accession number
    61.2010
    Copyright
    © Estate of Justin O'Brien

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Justin O'Brien

    Works in the collection

    21

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  • 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.

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    Greece

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications

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