Smith & Singer

Dynamic Dupain

October 14, 2015

Dating from 1934 to 1940 six rare vintage prints by one of Australia’s most renowned photographers are to be offered at Sotheby’s Australia’s auction of Fine Asian, Australian & European Arts & Design on 27 October 2015 in Sydney.  Sydney born Max Dupain spent most of his life photographing the architecture, landscape, beaches and cities of Australia with a brief sojourn to other countries, including Paris where he photographed the Harry Seidler designed Australian Embassy.  It was not until the 1970s that he gained wider recognition when his photographs were collected in depth by the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

The industrialisation of society and the environment did not go unnoticed by Dupain.  The Silos, Morning 1935 has been described as his ‘first stark image’ that broke free of traditional photographic boundaries exploring architectural and industrial form reduced to a simplified minimum.  As further discussed in Jill White’s book Dupain’s Sydney, The Silos, Morning ‘shocked the local photographic clique who saw the image as nakedly confronting … soaring cylindrical shafts threatened the confined edges of the camera frame, highlighting the dynamic interplay of angles and space.’

The dynamic interaction between humanity and the environment are explored in several of his works.  Within Brave New World 1935 (estiamte $8,000-12,000, lot 133) the artist has silhouetted a nude with various instruments of building and measurement.  An interpretation of Discobolus and the Machine 1935 (estimate $8,000-12,000, lot 131) is the disruption of the classical arts by the industrialised age.  In Sunset, Frenchs Forest 1940 (estimate $8,000-12,000, lot 132) the human form has become at one with the landscape.


MAX DUPAIN 1911-1992
gelatin silver print
31.6 x 45.5 cm
Estimate $8,000-12,000


We use our own and third party cookies to enable you to navigate around our Site, use its features and engage on social media, and to allow us to perform analytics, remember your preferences, provide services that you have requested and produce content and advertisements tailored to your interests, both on our Site as well as others. For more information, or to learn how to change your cookie or marketing preferences, please see our updated Privacy Policy & Cookie Policy.

By continuing to use our Site, you consent to our use of cookies and to the practices described in our updated Privacy Policy.