Australian-born artist Ralph Heimans was the only artist chosen to paint an Official portrait of The Queen in Her Diamond Jubilee Year. The work received widespread international acclaim when it was unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery of Australia in 2012, drawing record numbers of visitors to the Gallery. In a rare act of acquisition, it now forms part of the permanent collection of Westminster Abbey, where it will serve as the centrepiece of the Triforium Gallery on the upper level of the Abbey, opening in 2018.
Other notable works include a portrait of renowned conductor and pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy, private portraits of HRH Princess Sophie and HRH Prince Edward, and a recent series of celebrated authors including Margaret Atwood, Anne Tyler and Gillian Flynn. He is currently working on portraits of legendary actors Sir Ben Kingsley and Dame Judi Dench.
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 Westminster Abbey, The Royal Collection, 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 an Order of Australia for services to portraiture.
Notable examples of his work include:
· The Coronation Theatre; Portrait of HM The Queen, Westminster Abbey, London
· HM The Queen - Study for The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey, London
· 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