Skip to main content

Coming to visit? Ticketed entry is in place to safely manage your visit so please book ahead. Need to cancel or rejig? Email bookings@npg.gov.au

Menu

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.

Self portrait

1900
Agnes Goodsir

oil on canvas (frame: 102 cm x 78 cm depth 7 cm)

Born in Portland in south-west Victoria, Agnes Goodsir (1864–1939) initially painted still life before applying herself to the challenge of portraiture. During the late nineteenth century she studied at the Bendigo School of Mines in Victoria under the tutelage of the artist Arthur Woodward, who insisted that students be exposed to international cultural circles. Goodsir set her sights on Great Britain and France, venturing overseas to 'find herself' at the mature age of 36. She enrolled at the Parisian art schools of the day: the Académie Delécluse, the Académie Colarossi and the Académie Julian. Her works were featured in the seasonal salons of Paris, gaining her significant attention and resulting in a steady flow of commissions. She moved to London (where she also exhibited at the Royal Academy and the Royal Institute) prior to the onset of the First World War. Resettling in Paris in 1921, Goodsir made her home in rue de l’Odeon on the Left Bank with her companion and muse, Rachel Dunn, who appeared in many of her paintings. In 1926, Goodsir was made a member of France's Société Nationale des Beaux Arts, one of few Australians to receive the honour. She returned to Australia in 1927 for several months, bringing a large selection of her work for solo exhibitions in both Melbourne and Sydney, and receiving significant media attention as a result. Goodsir died in Paris in 1939, leaving the majority of her estate to Dunn.

Gift of Rosemary Neilson 2021

Artist and subject

Agnes Goodsir (age 36 in 1900)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Related information

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.

Girl with Cigarette, c. 1925 by Agnes Goodsir
Girl with Cigarette, c. 1925 by Agnes Goodsir
Girl with Cigarette, c. 1925 by Agnes Goodsir
Girl with Cigarette, c. 1925 by Agnes Goodsir

Agnes enigma

Magazine article by Karen Quinlan AM, 2019

Karen Quinlan considers the case of Agnes Goodsir, whose low profile in Australia belies her overseas acclaim.

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

The Gallery

Visit us, learn with us, support us or work with us! Here’s a range of information about planning your visit, our history and more!

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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 National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency