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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.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

The Witching Hour - Elena Kats-Chernin

2017
Wendy Sharpe

oil on canvas (support: 150.0 cm x 150.0 cm)

Elena Kats-Chernin AO (b. 1957), composer and pianist, was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and trained at the Gnessin Musical College in Moscow before moving to Australia in 1975. On graduation from the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music in 1980 she gained a grant to study with Helmut Lachenmann in Hanover. She spent thirteen years in Germany before returning to Sydney. Kats-Chernin has been commissioned to create works for orchestras internationally and was composer-in-residence with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra (2011) and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (2017). Her album Butterflying spent thirteen weeks at the top of the ARIA Classical Chart before reaching number 1 in September 2016, while her album Unsent love letters: meditations on Erik Satie debuted at number 1 in March 2017. Her music has inspired choreographers around the world and has featured in television, advertising and film.

Renowned for her richly-coloured, carnivalesque and variously perspectived works, Wendy Sharpe painted this portrait of her friend in 2017. The Witching Hour refers to a concerto for eight double basses composed by Kats-Chernin in 2016 for the Australian World Orchestra. The development of this work was recorded in a documentary about the Archibald Prize shown on Foxtel Arts that year.

Purchased with the assistance of the Circle of Friends 2018
© Wendy Sharpe

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.
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Audio description

2 minutes 57 seconds
Show transcript

Artist and subject

Wendy Sharpe (age 57 in 2017)

Elena Kats-Chernin AO (age 60 in 2017)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Supported by

National Portrait Gallery Circle of Friends (16 portraits supported)

Related information

The Witching Hour - Elena Kats-Chernin
The Witching Hour - Elena Kats-Chernin
The Witching Hour - Elena Kats-Chernin
The Witching Hour - Elena Kats-Chernin

Little faces

10:30am, Wed 23 Feb

Little Faces is for babies and toddlers (with their grown up) to play, sing and have fun discovering a portrait together.

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.

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Miranda Otto
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Eye to eye

Previous exhibition, 2019

Eye to Eye is a summer Portrait Gallery Collection remix arranged by degree of eye contact – from turned away with eyes closed all the way through to right-back-at-you – as we explore artists’ and subjects’ choices around the direction of the gaze.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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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.

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