Be Brutal: Nicholas Harding Portraits

Oil on linen portrait of William Cowan by Nicolas Harding depicting elderly man in suite with red tie and grey hair.

Burke Gallery, Gateway Building, Trinity College

In early 2017, 89-year-old doyen of Australian art John Olsen sat as a portrait subject for Nicholas Harding. The work was a finalist in the Archibald Prize that year. As Harding prepared to capture his visage, Olsen offered the younger artist some sage advice – ‘Be brutal!’

As Harding’s portrait of Olsen was being shown in the Archibald at the Art Gallery of NSW, a highly successful exhibition of Harding’s portrait works was on show at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra. Included among them was his most recent commission, a portrait of William Cowan AM, the latest acquisition to enter Trinity College’s own portrait collection.

Be Brutal: Nicholas Harding Portraits presents this Harding work from our own collection alongside a number of rarely seen works from the artist’s personal collection.

Image: Nicolas Harding, William Cowan AM [detail], 2017. Trinity College Portrait Collection