Exploring the portrait with 100 Faces


For hundreds of years, artists have captured—and even been obsessed with—faces. Spanning over a century and more than 50 artists, the 100 faces featured in Monash Gallery of Art’s new exhibition, aptly titled 100 Faces, reveals the diversity of photographic portraiture.

The subjects vary from Max Dupain to Uncle Jack Charles, Nellie Melba to Tracey Moffatt, alongside many unknown and unnamed sitters, incidental strangers, and broader interpretations of the medium itself. With both international and Australian artists, the show also examines what it means to both create and collect portraiture, publicly and privately.

View just some of the 100 faces captured below, alongside quotes from MGA curators and collectors about why they’re drawn to portraiture.

Maree Clarke, Jack Charles, 2012, from the series Ritual and ceremony, pigment ink-jet print 50.0 x 50.0 cm. Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection acquired 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Vivien Anderson Gallery (Melbourne).

“Portraiture is a powerful genre within photography that has recorded, challenged and explored representation since its inception. From the early 20th century photography of Paul Strand and Lisette Model, to Nobuyoshi Araki’s erotic imagery and Nan Goldin’s diaristic documentation of her friends and family, this exhibition presents an excellent opportunity to see international photographers alongside their Australian contemporaries.” – Angela Connor, MGA senior curator

Ezra Goulter, No title (portrait of Ezra and Sarah), 1878, carte de visite, albumen print, inks 10.5 x 6.2 cm; 9.8 x 5.3 cm. Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection. Donated by the descendants of Mrs L W Wates 2016.

Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, Untitled, 2010, from the series Dahomey to Benin chromogenic print 85.0 x 57.0 cm. From the Harris and Rosenthal collections. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Bell Gallery (London).

“Photography has been used to capture the human face since its inception. And today more than ever we use the medium to photograph our friends, family and indeed ourselves . . . This exhibition is an opportunity to see works from their significant collections, some of which have rarely been seen in Australia before, as well as some key images from our collection, including all-time favourites and a selection of new acquisitions that have not previously been shown here.” – Stella Loftus-Hills, MGA curator

Ruth Maddison, Tracey Moffatt prepares for something more, 1989, gelatin silver print 27.5 x 27.6 cm. Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection, acquired 2022. Courtesy of the artist.

May Moore, Nellie Melba, 1928, gelatin silver print 15.0 x 20.0 cm. Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection, acquired 2022.

“I love to look at photographic portraits of people and to think about what their faces reveal about their lives—their joys, their sad times, their culture, their sense of self. It’s like being a detective—or a psychologist (which I am).” – Doreen Rosenthal, collector, academic and women’s health researcher

Christian Thompson, Conjure by moon, 2013, from the series Pagan sun chromogenic print 120.0 x 120.0 cm. Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection acquired 2018.

“Penny and my passion for photography and especially the human image is stimulated by the infinite mood, intrigue, imagery and creativity that both humanity exhibits, and the myriad of extraordinary images produced by the photographic artists.” – Milton Harris, collector

100 Faces
Monash Gallery of Art
4 March—28 May