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Gayfield Shaw1918

by William Beckwith McInnes

This portrait of commercial gallery director, Gayfield Shaw, shows one of the most prominent members of the Sydney art scene, post-World War I. Shaw was also a skilled printmaker who took a leading role in establishing the nation’s first etching society.

The artist, successful portrait painter William Beckwith McInnes won the Archibald Prize seven times for his traditional style paintings. McInnes occasionally exhibited in Shaw’s gallery, holding an exhibition of Victorian landscapes, for example, in 1920.

Although McInnes was often criticised for his conservative style, this intense image is a striking portrait.