Chris Wallace-Crabbe AM (b.1934), poet, essayist and academic, grew up in Melbourne, went to Scotch College, trained in the RAAF and worked as a journalist while studying for his BA at the University of Melbourne. In his honours year, he published his first book of poetry. In 1961, he became a fellow in Australian Literature and Creative writing at the University; promoted by Nugget Coombs, he spent 1965-1967 at Yale as a Harkness Fellow. Subsequently, in Melbourne, he progressed in his old Department until in 1988, he assumed a personal chair; from time to time, too, he has taught in Venice. His poetry collections, published with Oxford University Press from 1985 to 1998 and then by Carcanet, include The Amorous Cannibal (1985), Selected Poems 1956-1994 (1995) and By and Large (2001). He has continued to publish, with over 30 books to his name, and was awarded the 2015 Melbourne Prize for Literature, in recognition of his contribution to both literature and intellectual and cultural life.
This portrait was painted by partner, Kristin Headlam, and was included in the exhibition ‘Kristin Headlam – Seasonal Adjustments’ in 2011, and later on the cover of ‘Travelling Without Gods – A Chris Wallace-Crabbe Companion’ (2014).
Purchased with the assistance of the Circle of Friends 2014
Accession number: 2014.49
More about the artist and subject
Basil grew into a speckled beauty – a long-legged leaper and an exceptionally vocal dog, with a great register of sounds, ascending in shock value from a whimper to a growl to a bark to a yelp that’s a violation of the ears.
Permanent collection catalogue
On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.