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Peter FitzSimons

Peter Smeeth2010

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Art Gallery of New South Wales
Sydney, Australia

While he now has a high profile as an author and newspaper columnist, Peter FitzSimons first came to public attention as a rugby union player, representing Australia as a Wallaby in seven tests between 1989 and 1990. In every guise, he is known for his outspokenness and wit.

This portrait from the 2010 Archibald Prize was painted in artist Peter Smeeth’s studio and involved over 200 hours of work. Smeeth visited FitzSimons at his Sydney home and spent a couple of hours with him chatting, sketching and taking photos.

Says Smeeth: ‘I basically asked how he would like to be painted and he said, "This is what I’m like. I don’t dress up. This is me." He said that while some blokes his age get a red sports car, he has taken to wearing a red bandana, which his sons bought in Cuba.

‘He’s a big man – two metres tall – and I wanted to convey that sense of mass along with the "I-don’t-suffer-fools" look in his eyes.’

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