Paul Fitzgerald (painter)

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Paul Fitzgerald AM
Paul Desmond Fitzgerald

(1922-08-01)1 August 1922
Died24 June 2017(2017-06-24) (aged 94)
EducationNational Gallery of Victoria Art School[1]
OccupationPortrait artist
Military career
Allegiance Australia
Service/branchAustralian Army
Years of service1943–1946
Service numberVX126647
Unit5 Machine Gun Battalion

Paul Desmond Fitzgerald AM[2] (1 August 1922 – 24 June 2017) was an Australian portrait painter who painted a vast array of distinguished persons.[3]


Fitzgerald was born in the family home, in the Melbourne suburb of Kew, the second son of Frank Fitzgerald and Margaret née Poynton. Frank Fitzgerald was a journalist with The Age for approximately ten years and about eight years with The Argus. He periodically filled the roles of general reporting, leader writing, political correspondent, art critic, music critic, theatre critic and motoring editor.[4]

A Catholic,[3] Fitzgerald was educated at Xavier College in Melbourne (1933–1939) and studied for five years at the National Gallery School (1940–43 and 1946–47), interrupted for three and a half years in the Army during World War II (1943–46).[5]

Professional career[edit]

When he was painting away from his studio in Melbourne, he usually lived with the subjects of his portraiture. He lived and painted overseas on commissioned portraits twice each year since 1958 including America, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Jersey, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Hawaii and Bermuda. He also painted throughout Australia.

Fitzgerald was a finalist for the Archibald Prize for portraiture on multiple occasions including 1958 (with a portrait of Justice Robert Monahan),[6] in 1962 (with portraits of each of Sir Reg Ansett and Sir Robert Menzies),[7] and in 1972 (with a portrait of Sir Henry Bolte).[8]

In 1997 Fitzgerald was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia and a Knight of Malta. He founded the Australian Guild of Realist Artists, where he was a Life Member of the Council,[9] and was president for seven years. Fitzgerald was a member of "Portraits Incorporated" in America, is a trustee of the A.M.E. Bale Travelling Scholarship and Art Prize, and produced the art book Australian Realist and Impressionist Artists, donating the profits to charity.

Known works[edit]

Fitzgerald's work was prolific and the following are known notable portraits by the artist:

Personal life[edit]

Shortly after returning to Australia in 1957, Fitzgerald married Mary Parker, who was born in Bitton, Gloucestershire and, as a child, had emigrated with her family to Melbourne. Parker's brother, Lieutenant–Commander Michael Parker, was a former private secretary to Prince Philip.[21] Mary Parker attended Genezzano Convent then returned to England and established a successful career as a film actress and television announcer.[22] She returned to Australia with HSV-7 in 1956 to cover the television coverage of the Melbourne Olympic Games[23] and is considered to be the first woman on Australian television, having appeared in their test broadcasts and as a newsreader on their opening night, alongside Eric Pearce (later Sir Eric).[24][25] Mary and Paul Fitzgerald had seven children; Fabian (born 1959), Marisa (born 1960), Patrick (born 1963, since deceased), Emma (born 1964), Edward (born 1968), Maria (born 1970) and Frances (born 1973).

Fitzgerald's hobbies included tennis, music and reading; and he was a member of the Melbourne Club, Victorian Racing Club and Royal South Yarra Lawn Tennis Club.


  1. ^ "Paul Fitzgerald (1922-.) Australia". Australian Art Auction Records. John Furphy Pty. Ltd. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  2. ^ "FITZGERALD, Paul Desmond: Member of the Order of Australia". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 26 January 1997. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Fitzgerald, Paul (March 2010). "Paul Fitzgerald: my spiritual journey". AD2000. 23 (2). Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  4. ^ "Students excel in art show". The Argus. Melbourne. 10 March 1949. p. 6. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  5. ^ "Fitzgerald, Paul Desmond". World War II Nominal Roll. Commonwealth of Australia. 2002. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  6. ^ "Archibald Prize 1958: Finalists". Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes. Art Gallery of New South Wales. 1958. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  7. ^ "Archibald Prize 1962: Finalists". Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes. Art Gallery of New South Wales. 1962. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  8. ^ "Archibald Prize 1972: Finalists". Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes. Art Gallery of New South Wales. 1972. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  9. ^ "AGRA Council". Australian Guild of Realist Artists. 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  10. ^ a b c d e "Paul Fitzgerald. 1922-". Australian Art Sales Digest. Melbourne, Australia: John Furphy Pty. Ltd. Archived from the original on 30 March 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  11. ^ "An Australian paints the Queen". The Australian Women's Weekly. 15 June 1977. p. 4. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  12. ^ a b Fitzgerald, Paul (August 2004). "Whatever happened to beauty in art?". AD2000. 17 (7). Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  13. ^ "Rajah ordered two portraits". The Sun-Herald. Sydney. 18 July 1954. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  14. ^ "Artist who never had languish in a garret". Western Mail. Perth. 23 December 1954. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  15. ^ Waters, Ian B. "Knox, James Robert (1914–1983)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  16. ^ "Diabetes research brings Larkins Prize for honours medical student". UniNews. 12 (8). University of Melbourne. 19 May 2003. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  17. ^ "Bolte portrait found in Jeff Kennett's home" (transcript). The World Today. Australia: ABC Radio. 29 February 2000. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  18. ^ Young, J. McI. "O'Bryan, Sir Norman John (1894–1968)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  19. ^ "A Gift From the Family of the Late Garrick Gray" (PDF). Victorian Bar Association. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 October 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  20. ^ Irving, Freda (11 October 1961). "Vivien is delighted with her good–luck portrait". The Australian Women's Weekly. p. 11. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  21. ^ "Social roundabout". The Australian Women's Weekly. 6 April 1960. p. 84. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  22. ^ "TV star marries artist". The Australian Women's Weekly. 20 March 1957. p. 3. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  23. ^ "She will make a pretty picture". The Argus. Melbourne. 10 January 1957. p. 1. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  24. ^ Listener In-TV, 1 November 1956
  25. ^
  • Who's Who of Australia – Margaret Gee Publishing