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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.

Harry and Penelope Seidler

15 December 1958
John Hearder

photograph on paper (image: 24.7 cm x 19.7 cm)

Harry Seidler AC OBE (1923–2006), architect and designer, was born in Vienna and completed his early architectural studies in England and Canada. He studied under Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer at the Harvard School of Design, and at Black Mountain College in North Carolina with Joseph Albers. He worked with Alvar Aalto in Massachusetts, with Breuer in his New York practice and with Oscar Niemeyer in Rio de Janeiro before travelling in Sydney in 1948 to design a house for his parents in Turramurra. Now known as the Rose Seidler House, it caused a sensation, introducing Bauhaus principles to Australia and winning the RAIA Sir John Sulman Medal for 1951. Soon commissioned to design houses for other clients, Seidler decided to stay in Australia and made a significant contribution to the architecture of Sydney, particularly in his Australia Square buildings (1961–1967), the MLC Centre (1972–1978) and Grosvenor Place (1982–1988). For each of these developments he was awarded the Sulman Medal. He also designed major projects around Australia and internationally, including the critically acclaimed Australian Embassy in Paris (1973–1977) overlooking the Eiffel Tower. From the 1970s onward Seidler held regular appointments as visiting professor at universities in Australia, the USA and Switzerland. Among his multitudinous awards are the RAIA Gold Medal (1976) and the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal (1996). He received Australia's highest honour, the Companion of the Order of Australia, in 1987.

Gift of Penelope Seidler AM 2021
© Penelope Seidler AM

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

John Hearder (age 45 in 1958)

Harry Seidler AC OBE (age 35 in 1958)

Penelope Seidler AM (age 20 in 1958)

Subject professions

Architecture, design and fashion

Related information

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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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