Gelatin silver print by Max Dupain – Titled: Sunbaker, 1937

Photography by Max Dupain – Titled: Sunbaker 1937 (Printed in the late 1970’s)

Gelatin silver print signed and dated on lower right by the artist.

Dimensions: 38.3 x 39.8 cm

Provenance: London private collection and acquired in an UK gallery in 1989.

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Max DUPAIN (1911 – 1992)

Maxwell Spencer Dupain aka Max Dupain was born on 22 of April 1911 and died on the 27 of July 1992. He was an Australian modernist photographer.

Dupain received his first camera as a gift in 1924, spurring his interest in photography. He later joined the Photographic Society of NSW, where he was taught by Justin Newlan; after completing his tertiary studies, he worked for Cecil Bostock in Sydney.

By 1934 Max Dupain had struck out on his own and opened a studio in Bond Street, Sydney. In 1937, while on the south coast of New South Wales, he photographed the head and shoulders of an English friend, Harold Salvage, lying on the sand at Culburra Beach. But it was not until the 1970s that the photograph began to receive wide recognition. A print of the photograph was purchased in 1976 by the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra and by the 1990s it had cemented its place as an iconic image of Australia. An early vintage print of the original version of the Sunbaker is contained an album of photographs donated to the State Library of New South Wales by Dupain’s friend, the architect Chris Vandyke.

During World War II Dupain served with the Royal Australian Air Force in both Darwin and Papua New Guinea and helping to create camouflage.

In the 1950s the advent of the new consumerism meant that there was plenty of promotional photography for advertising and he attracted clients from magazines, advertising agencies and industrial firms. In between this he devoted time to pursue his love of architecture, and began architectural photography, which he continued most of his life.

However, apart from his war service he rarely left Australia, the first time not until 1978, when he was 67, and even then it was to photograph the new Australian Embassy in Paris, designed by his long-time friend and associate Harry Seidler.

He wrote, “I find that my whole life, if it is going to be of any consequence in photography, has to be devoted to that place where I have been born, reared and worked, thought, philosophised and made pictures to the best of my ability. And that’s all I need”.

Dupain continued working until his death in 1992.


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