Skip to main content

Chris Wallace-Crabbe
, 2011

by Kristin Headlam

oil on linen (support: 150.0 x 120.0 cm)

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).

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased with the assistance of the Circle of Friends 2014
Accession number: 2014.49