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April 04 , 2010

Real Life Portrait


Real life Portrait is a literary novel ─ the compelling story of the author’s father, Wallace Anderson, a noted Australian sculptor from the 1920s to the 1950s. It focuses on art in war and in peace, following Wallace’s struggle to balance family responsibilities and creative fulfillment.

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While serving a reluctant apprenticeship in his uncle’s engineering works he studied art at night school and became an art teacher before enlisting in the AIF infantry. He rose through the ranks to lieutenant and served on the Western Front before being appointed an Official War Artist, collecting relics and making sketches for dioramas and sculptures which he later worked on in the Australian War Museum studios and he was largely responsible for choosing and arranging the entire World War 1 art and relics collection in the Australian War Memorial.

Some of Wallace’s best-known works are Simpson and his Donkey at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance, the Ararat War Memorial, the King George V Memorial in Geelong, and busts of the first 14 Australian prime ministers in Ballarat Botanical Gardens.

Part biography, part social history, part military history and part fiction, Real Life Portrait is an insight to the fascinating life of an accomplished artist, respected contributor to Australia’s art and military history, war veteran and a devoted husband and father in turbulent times.

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