Portia Geach (1873-1959)
Portia Geach was born 1873 in Melbourne and was a painter, etcher and women’s rights activist. From 1890-1896 she studied at the National Gallery School and established herself as a portrait painter. She was the first Australian to be awarded a tuition scholarship to the Royal Academy in London, where she studied under John Singer Sargent. Geach also traveled to, and painted in, Paris and New York before returning to Sydney.
Portia is well known for her portrait prize established in her honor in 1962 by her sister, Florence. The prize in its 50th year and is open to Australia female portrait painters. Her passion for women’s rights has left an ongoing legacy that encourages contemporary Australian female painters to follow their ambitions.
Portia’s works empowered women. Her paintings often provided the viewer with a sense of freedom. Her lifestyle and passion for women’s rights gave Australian society a strong female voice.
National Gallery of Australia
Cruthers Collection. University of Western Australia
Tweed Regional Gallery
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart
Australian War Memorial
Benalla Art Gallery
National Trust, S. H. Ervin Gallery Sydney
Mitchell Library, NSW