At Newport, 1952
gelatin silver photograph
signed and dated (lower right)
Richard King Gallery, Sydney
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1991
The three Dupain photographs are being sold together.
There is a strong sense of masculinity found in many of Dupain’s beach works. In 'At Newport' this is emphasised by the strong, angular lines of the figures, an image that seems to capture the essence of male youth at the beach. In this image, three male swimmers are positioned in the foreground of a beachside pool setting. The long shadows of the late summer sun place further emphasis on the angularity and thus the masculinity that is a feature of this image.
"Modern photography must do more than entertain, it must incite thought and by its clear statements of actuality, cultivate a sympathetic understanding of men and women and the life they create and live." (Max Dupain in Hall Missingham, Max Dupain: Photographs, Ure Smith Pty Ltd, Sydney, 1948. )
Widely regarded as one of Australia's iconic 20th century photographers, Dupain is known for simple, dramatic compositions of quintessential Australian subjects; landscapes, beaches, nudes, still life and architecture. His combination of striking formal composition and poignant social documentary made a major stylistic contribution to photography in Australia.
In Dupain's images of the Australian way of life and the development of the nation from the 1950s onwards, the pure forms of nudes, bodies on the beach or in the fields and, even building sites, were captured as expressions of public wellbeing.
After helping develop camouflage during the Second World War, and working as both a commercial and government photographer, Dupain became interested in documentary photography to capture truth through images in the post-war era. Rarely leaving Australia, Dupain was committed to his life's work of documenting Australian life and was instrumental in elevating photography from documentation to the place of art in Australia. In 1975 the Australian Centre for Photography mounted Max Dupain: A Retrospective 1930–1975, a touring exhibition that elevated Dupain and his famous image, The Sunbaker, to a level of national renown. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1982 and was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1992. As of 2016, the State Library of NSW holds prints of Max Dupain's entire photographic output, including 28,000 negatives.