Honouring Older Artists – Judy Cassab

Portrait of Marea Gazzard by Judy Cassab

A retrospective of the work of renowned Australian portrait artist, Judy Cassab, has recently opened at Sydney’s Eva Breuer Gallery and will run over the summer – a very special opportunity for locals and other visitors to view the work of an artist who is twice winner of Australia’s top portraiture prize, the Archibald.  She has painted an enormous number of famous Australians in her 93 years.

Seems that just about everyone who has sat for Judy has been flattered by the result.  Australian actor, Jack Thompson, believes that a portraiture style reveals the inner world view of the artist.  “When you see Judy’s paintings, you see the eye of the beholder”, he says in praise of her work.  Michael Kirby, friend and erstwhile Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, was boyishly flattered by his portrait, saying it made him look like a movie star – “sexy”, he grinned.  Recently retired head of the Art Gallery of NSW, Edmond Capon, recalls that Judy told him that painting a portrait is a wonderful way to make a good friend in a short time.  Judy has obviously made many friends.

Now suffering from what her son describes as “an interesting form of dementia” Judy remembers little of the troubled early life she experienced as a Jewish girl in hiding during the Second World War in Europe.  He says that forgetting has its advantages and perceives that she is now enjoying a happier and more contented life than ever before. There is no doubt a deep and gentle spirituality in a woman who says of her work: “the last strokes are added by God”.

The featured portrait is in memory of another prominent Australian artist, sculptor and ceramicist Marea Gazzard AO, CBE,  who died in October 2013.

Watch the interview of Judy, family and friends on ABC News



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