London-based Australian artist Ralph Heimans (b1970) is one of today’s leading portrait artists. His official portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth was produced for the Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and now hangs in Westminster Abbey, while his celebrated portraits of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh (2017) and HRH The Prince of Wales (2018) are in the Royal Collection.
In 2018, The National Portrait Gallery of Denmark at Frederiksborg Castle held a mid-career retrospective of Heimans’ work, which was officially opened by HM Queen Margrethe II. The exhibition featured outstanding portraits of Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark, along with public figures including Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ben Kingsley, Maestro Vladimir Ashkenazy, as well as his series of celebrated authors including Margaret Atwood, Gillian Flynn, Jo Nesbo, Anne Tyler, Tracy Chevalier and Howard Jacobson.
Ralph Heimans' large-scale portraits are renowned for their innovative compositions that offer engaging narratives about his subjects and their life stories. His sitters include extraordinary individuals who have made a significant contribution in the fields of arts, academia, law, business, politics and philanthropy. Their portrayals are informed by a creative integration of subject and context. Figures are placed in complex spatial arrangements, underpinned by an innovative use of geometry, reflection and perspective. His technical approach pays homage to the 17th Century masters of chiaroscuro, exploiting exquisite effects of light, which appear to illuminate the inner world of his subjects.
Heimans’ works are held in major international collections including The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, The Royal Collection, Westminster Abbey, The National Portrait Gallery of Australia, The National History Museum of Denmark, Australia’s Parliament House and The European Court in Luxembourg. In 2014 he was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for services to portraiture.
· The Coronation Theatre; Portrait of HM The Queen, Westminster Abbey, London
· HM The Queen - Study for The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey, London
- Portrait of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, The Royal collection, St James' Palace
- Portrait of HRH The Prince of Wales, collection of The Prince of Wales
· 'Sit by my side and let the world slip' (Taming of the Shrew): Portrait of Anne Tyler, National Portrait Gallery in Washington
· Portrait of The Hon John Howard, Royal Collection, London
· HRH Princess Mary of Denmark: Frederiksborg Castle, Denmark
· Radical Restraint; Portrait of Justice Michael Kirby: The National Portrait Gallery of Australia, Canberra
· Portrait of Dame Quentin Bryce, Parliament House, Canberra
· Portrait of A Musician; Vladimir Ashkenazy: Exhibited at the Sydney Opera House, Australia
· Portrait of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, Private collection of Matthew Freud, London
Q&A with the artistRalph Heimans and Mette Skougaard