Max Dupain

Bondi, 1939
silver gelatin photograph
38.0 x 40.0 cm
signed and dated (lower right)


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Richard King Gallery, Sydney
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1991

The three Dupain photographs are being sold together.

The iconic 'Bondi' image captures the view of the sunbaker. Dupain shot 'Bondi' from ground level providing a tilted view of the common beach scene.

This voyeuristic image captures a woman from behind at the moment she self-consciously adjusts her swimsuit. The feminine gesture of her hands and the soft lines of her body are contrasted by the masculine pose of her partner, standing with sharp, angular arms on his hips.

  • Bondi

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"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.