Paul Fitzgerald (painter)

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Paul Fitzgerald AM
Born Paul Desmond Fitzgerald
(1922-08-01)1 August 1922
Hawthorn, Victoria
Died 24 June 2017(2017-06-24)
Kew, Victoria
Nationality Australian
Education National Gallery of Victoria Art School[1]
Occupation Portrait artist
Military career
Allegiance  Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service 1943–1946
Rank Sergeant
Service number VX126647
Unit 5 Machine Gun Battalion

Paul Desmond Fitzgerald AM[3] was born on 1 August 1922 in Hawthorn, Victoria) and died on 24 June 2017 in Kew, Victoria, just five weeks prior to his 95th birthday. He was an Australian portrait painter who has painted more people of distinction than any other Australian artist.[2]


Fitzgerald was born 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,[2] 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 R. V. 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.

[10]==Known works==

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

  • Queen Elizabeth II in 1963,[11] in 1978 being the only official portrait in her Silver Jubilee year,[12] and one other portrait in 1967.
  • Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in 1976,[11] plus one other portrait in 1974.
  • Charles, Prince of Wales, two portraits, 1978.
  • Pope John XXIII[13] painted in The Vatican in 1963.
  • The Duke of Kent, two portraits, in 1978 and 2000.
  • Sir William Hesseltine, Private Secretary to Queen Elizabeth II.
  • Five portraits of the Malaysian Royal Family
  • Two identical 6 feet (1.8 m) portraits of Sharafuddin Idris Shah -The Raja Muda of Selangor (Crown Prince of Malaysia), son of the Sultan of Selangor[14][15]
  • Prince Ludwig (nephew of Prince Philip) and Princess Von Baden and family (Germany)
  • Three Cardinals, including Cardinal James Knox,[16] four Archbishops including Daniel Mannix,[17] and two Bishops
  • Angelo de Mojana di Cologna – 77th Prince Grand Master of the Knights of Malta and Count Da Larocca – Knight of Malta
  • The Duke of Westminster; a Marquess; three Earls; two Viscounts; four Barons
  • Two Governors-General of Australia, two Australian Prime Ministers, including Sir Robert Menzies,[13] six Australian State Governors, two Australian State Premiers, including a portrait of Sir Henry Bolte[18]
  • Fourteen Supreme Court Judges, including portraits of the ten judges of the Supreme Court of Victoria between 1964 and 1965 (who were Sir Edmund Herring, Sir Charles Lowe, Sir Norman O’Bryan,[19] Sir Arthur Dean, Sir Reginald Sholl, Thomas W. Smith AC, Sir Edward Hudson, Sir Robert Monahan, Sir Douglas Little, and Sir Alistair Adam)[20] and six Chiefs of Air Staff
  • Two presidents of the Australian Colleges of Surgeons, three of the College of Physicians: one the College of Anaesthetics and three of the College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology; two presidents of the English Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Three University Chancellors; twelve College Principals
  • Three Presidents of the Melbourne Cricket Club; seven Presidents of the Victorian Football League and three Chief Executives; two presidents the Australian Football League
  • Five presidents of the Board of Governors of the New York Hospital; the Executive Director of the New York Hospital
  • World Chairman of Citibank (who was also president of the New York Metropolitan Opera), Conrad Hilton (Hilton Hotels), Glenn Ford (Film Star), Vivien Leigh,[21] Maria Callas (posthumously)
  • Two Australian Motor Racing Champions
  • Sporting champions including Norman Brooks (post.), Lew Hoad,[2] Neale Fraser,[2] Allan Border,[2] John Nichols,[2] Lionel Rose[2]
  • S. Baillieu Myer
  • Mrs Kerry Packer, Gretel & James
  • Sir Reginald Ansett
  • Peter Janson
  • Hector Crawford
  • Bruno and Reno Grollo
  • Hon. Thomas Hughes QC - Australian Attorney General
  • The first three Racehorses of the Year for Victorian Racing Commission - Rain Lover, Gay Icarus, Vain
  • 14 portraits of the Vestey Family

Portraits of Lord Trout,[11] Roy Trout (1974),[11] and Jane Nathan (1958)[11] George Mochrie, 1970, Melbourne Businessman

[22]==Personal life==

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.[23] Mary Parker attended Genezzano Convent then returned to England and established a successful career as a film actress and television announcer.[24] She returned to Australia with HSV-7 in 1956 to cover the television coverage of the Melbourne Olympic Games[25] 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).[26][27] 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 and Royal South Yarra Lawn Tennis Club. [28]


  1. ^ "Paul Fitzgerald (1922-.) Australia". Australian Art Auction Records. John Furphy Pty. Ltd. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Fitzgerald, Paul (March 2010). "Paul Fitzgerald: my spiritual journey". AD2000. 23 (2). Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "FITZGERALD, Paul Desmond: Member of the Order of Australia". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 26 January 1997. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "Students excel in art show". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956). 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. ^ The Portraits of Paul Fitzgerald by Jodie Harrison-Fitzgerald
  11. ^ a b c d e "Paul Fitzgerald. 1922-". Australian Art Sales Digest. Melbourne, Australia: John Furphy Pty. Ltd. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "An Australian paints the Queen". The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982). 15 June 1977. p. 4. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Fitzgerald, Paul (August 2004). "Whatever happened to beauty in art?". AD2000. 17 (7). Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  14. ^ "Rajah ordered two portraits". The Sun-Herald (Sydney, NSW : 1953 - 1954). 18 July 1954. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  15. ^ "Artist who never had languish in a garret". Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954). 23 December 1954. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  16. ^ Waters, Ian B. "Knox, James Robert (1914–1983)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  17. ^ "Diabetes research brings Larkins Prize for honours medical student". UniNews. 12 (8). University of Melbourne. 19 May 2003. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  18. ^ "Bolte portrait found in Jeff Kennett's home" (transcript). The World Today. Australia: ABC Radio. 29 February 2000. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  19. ^ 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. 
  20. ^ "A Gift From the Family of the Late Garrick Gray" (PDF). Victorian Bar Association. 2006. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  21. ^ Irving, Freda (11 October 1961). "Vivien is delighted with her good–luck portrait". The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982). p. 11. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  22. ^ The Portraits of Paul Fitzgerald by Jodie Harrison-Fitzgerald
  23. ^ "Social roundabout". The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982). 6 April 1960. p. 84. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  24. ^ "TV star marries artist". The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982). 20 March 1957. p. 3. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  25. ^ "She will make a pretty picture". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956). 10 January 1957. p. 1. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  26. ^ Listener In-TV, 1 November 1956
  27. ^
  28. ^ The Portraits of Paul Fitzgerald by Jodie Harrison-Fitzgerald
  • Who's Who of Australia - Margaret Gee Publishing