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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.

Betty Churcher

1994
Anne Zahalka

ilfochrome photograph on paper, edition 1/1 (image/sheet: 40.0 cm x 40.0 cm)

Betty Churcher AO (1931–2015) was the director of the National Gallery of Australia from 1990 to 1997, and through her writing, leadership and curatorial work is held to have changed the way Australians look at art. Born and raised in Brisbane, she studied painting there before winning a scholarship that funded study in England at the South West Essex Technical School and the Royal College of Art. After returning to Brisbane, she worked as a high school art teacher. She studied art history at the Courtauld Institute in the mid-1970s, and from 1981 to 1987 taught at Melbourne’s Preston/Phillip Institute of Technology. In 1987 she was appointed director of the Art Gallery of Western Australia, thus becoming the first female director of an Australian state gallery. After three years in Perth she moved to Canberra to become director of the Australian National Gallery – renamed the National Gallery of Australia during her tenure. Anne Zahalka's portrait of Churcher shows her in front of one of a pair of large marble vases by sculptor Jean-Baptiste Boudard titled Gran Vasi di Palazzo Ducale, Parma [Large vases from the Ducal Palace, Parma] c. 1765–68, purchased by the NGA in June 1991.

Gift of the artist 2021
© Anne Zahalka/Copyright Agency, 2022

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

Anne Zahalka (age 37 in 1994)

Betty Churcher AO (age 63 in 1994)

© National Portrait Gallery 2022
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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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency