Saturday 11 March 2006

Subject: Mary!

The Sydney Morning Herald today reports on some artistic pursuits:

Portrait of man on train about to paint Princess Mary

Chosen to paint the official Danish portrait of Princess Mary ... Australian artist Ralph Heimans as he painted himself riding on the Metro in Paris. His royal work will be taken to Copenhagen next week.

By Valerie Lawson
March 11, 2006

IN a Paris studio, the final brushstrokes have been made on Princess Mary. Next week, she will embark on a hush hush journey to Denmark.
Not the princess herself, but Denmark's first official portrait of Mary, painted by Ralph Heimans, 35, an Australian artist who lives in Paris.
During the nine months that Heimans has been travelling to Copenhagen for the sittings, there has been a total clampdown on news of the painting and preparations for the unveiling.
The Danish authorities have recently recruited Jeremy Mitchell, public affairs manager at the Australian high commission in London, to co-ordinate publicity for the event, to be held on April 7 at the Museum of National History, based in Frederiksborg Castle, near Copenhagen.
Heimans said the Danish Government wanted "everything done through diplomatic channels, through safe channels. They wanted to make sure things were controlled. This is the official portrait for Denmark".
He said that the work will be "an amazingly different sort of portrait … It's going to be exciting in that regard".
A brief mention in Danish on the Museum of National History website reveals that the portrait will be "drawing up the lines between her old and new country, and in this way, [will] underline her special background".
Heimans, who has painted Justice Michael Kirby, Tom Uren, arts benefactor Caroline Simpson and Bill Waterhouse, among many others, is a past finalist in the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize.
Working on commission, he has painted a great many lawyers, among them Robert Stitt, QC. In England, he said, QCs "line up" to have their portraits painted by him. He has been commissioned by the European Court in Luxembourg, the Australian Army and the Supreme Court of NSW.
Heimans was one of a small number of Australian artists whose names were put forward to the Danish museum by Andrew Sayers, director of the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra. The gallery has three Heimans works in its collection.
Last year it commissioned another portrait of Princess Mary. The Sydney artist Jiawei Shen painted a lifesize, formal portrait, showing the princess in a long blue dress.
The portrait was hung in the gallery last October.
A press report of Shen's commission also briefly mentioned that Heimans was to paint Princess Mary. According to Heimans, this sent the Danish authorities into a flurry.
They decided that no further news of his portrait would appear until the publicity campaign begins, in about a week.
The Heimans portrait of Princess Mary, along with Shen's portrait, will be the focus of an exhibition called Australian Visit at Denmark's Museum of National History.
The exhibition, also opening on April 7, includes more than 50 portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, among them those of Kylie Minogue, Dame Joan Sutherland, Elle Macpherson, Rupert Murdoch, Gough Whitlam, Germaine Greer, Rolf Harris and Ian Thorpe.

Jaiwei Shen's portrait of Mary painted last year is currently hanging at its home in the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, but it will soon make the journey to Denmark for the exhibition at the National History Museum at Frederiksborg Castle.

Ralph Heimans' homepage
Jaiwei Shen

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home