Leonard French OBE (1928-2017) left school at fourteen to become an apprentice signwriter in his native Melbourne. He later studied part-time at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. After the war, he visited Europe, studying the Byzantine art whose influence would later become evident in his work. On his return to Australia, he taught at various Melbourne technical schools until the late 1950s. In 1956 he completed the seven-panel Legend of Sinbad the Sailor which hung in the ultra-modern Legend café in Melbourne. Henceforth, he became one of the country's most successful and sought-after artists (although he worked as the National Gallery of Victoria's Exhibitions Officer between 1956 and 1960). His enormous dalle de verre (concrete and slab glass) ceiling in the Great Hall of the National Gallery of Victoria was commissioned in 1963, and completed in 1968; other monumental glass projects of the sixties and seventies were the windows for the new National Library in Canberra, the Alpha and Omega window in Monash University's Blackwood Hall and the mural Regeneration in the Great Hall of University House, ANU.
The series David Moore: From Face to Face was acquired by gift of the artist and financial assistance from Timothy Fairfax AC and L Gordon Darling AC CMG 2001
Accession number: 2001.71
More about the artist and subject
Magazine article, Portrait 40
Michael Desmond discusses Fred Williams' portraits of friends, artist Clifton Pugh, David Aspden and writer Stephen Murray-Smith, and the stylistic connections between his portraits and landscapes.
Magazine article, Portrait 2
A Captured Moment
The acquisition of David Moore's archive of portrait photographs for the National Portrait Gallery's collection.
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.