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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.

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Self portrait

1948
Klaus Friedeberger

oil on canvas (frame: 39.2 cm x 31.5 cm depth 2.4 cm)

Born in Berlin to Jewish parents, Klaus Friedeberger fled to England at the age of 16 to escape persecution. When England declared war with Germany in September 1939, he was interned as an enemy alien and banished to Australia on the troopship Dunera. On the voyage and subsequently in the prison camp at Hay, New South Wales, he was mentored by sculptor Heinz Henghes, surrealist painter and designer Hein Heckroth, photographer Helmut Gernsheim, and Bauhaus lecturer Ludwig Hirschfeld Mack. From them, Friedeberger learned art history and colour theory, and produced studies, portraits and surrealist-inspired compositions. Released from the camp in 1942, he joined the Australian military forces and was based briefly in Melbourne. Painting in his free time, he became acquainted with Australian artists Arthur Boyd, Sidney Nolan and William Dobell. While many of his works reflect his wartime experiences, this self portrait highlights Friedeberger’s early practice where he became increasingly interested in colour, playing with a rich, vibrant palette and a figurative approach to painting.

Gift of Julie Friedeberger 2021
© Julie Friedeberger

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

Klaus Friedeberger (age 26 in 1948)

Donated by

Julie Friedeberger (2 portraits)

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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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