Skip to main content

The National Portrait Gallery is temporarily closed to the public until further notice.

Menu

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark

2000
Peter Wegner

oil on canvas (155.5 cm x 167.5 cm)

Graeme Clark AO (b. 1935) is Laureate Professor Emeritus of Otolaryngology at the University of Melbourne and the Director Emeritus of the Bionic Ear Institute. Clark made it possible for thousands of profoundly deaf people to hear when he launched the cochlear implant in 1978. The possibility of using an electrical device to stimulate the nerves inside the inner ear to produce hearing had been pursued sporadically by researchers since the 18th century. Clark has said that he discovered how to insert an electrode into the inner ear while studying shells on the beach; it took him and his team 12 years to develop the first device that could do this successfully. Nicknamed the 'Bionic Ear', it remains the world leader in its field. Research and refinement of the cochlear implant continue, and Clark has also developed other hearing devices, in pursuit of what has been called one of the major medical advances of our time. Clark was named Senior Australian of the Year in 2001. Amongst his many publications are Science and God (1979) and an autobiographical account of his research, Sounds from Silence (2000).

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the family of Professor Graeme Clark 2001
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Peter Wegner

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Peter Wegner (age 47 in 2000)

Professor Graeme Clark AO (age 65 in 2000)

Donated by

Family Trust of Professor Graeme Clark (1 portrait)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

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.

Professor Graeme Clark

'Scientific creativity'

Portrait story

Creator of the bionic ear, the Cochlear Implant, Professor Graeme Clark discusses his life and career.

Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark
Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark
Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark
Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark

Inspiration + Realisation: Peter Wegner

Magazine article by Katherine Russell, 2006

Peter Wegner's approach to portraiture could be considered a visual record of the rapport, the dynamic space between artist and subject.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency