Farewell to Max Dupain

Media release: Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The people of Australia have only a few more days to catch Max Dupain on Assignment, an exhibition from the National Archives of Australia, now on show at Liverpool City Library.

During its five-year tour, the exhibition has attracted an enthusiastic response from visitors across Australia and further afield, with comments such as 'inspirational', 'the work of a true artist' and 'what a treasure to behold'.

Dupain's portrayal of Australia from 1936 to 1977 has caught the imagination of many. A young French woman who had recently become an Australian citizen, saw the exhibition in Canberra and wrote 'this exhibition is a perfect way to learn about my new country'. Another visitor described the exhibition as 'the Australian story – exquisitely told'.

The exhibition highlights the photographs Dupain took while working for Commonwealth government departments and companies such as CSR Limited. At the time he created some of his most imaginative works which include portraits, people and places, corporate and advertising shots, as well as images of life on the canefields. The photographs are now held by the National Archives of Australia and the Noel Butlin Archives at the Australian National University.

'This exhibition has provided an opportunity for people to see creative Dupain works, many of which had never been exhibited before,' said Caroline Webber from the National Archives.

She found Dupain's industrial images particularly striking. A favourite shows a storage area of stacked metals where his abstract technique has used the contrast of light and shadow to create visual patterns in close-ups.

'Some of his architectural photographs are strong as well,' says Ms Webber. 'He worked closely with Jorn Utzon to document the creation of the Sydney Opera House.'

The exhibition's last day at the Liverpool Library is Sunday 15 September.

Media can download high resolution images from: www.naa.gov.au/collection/snapshots/dupain/for-media/index.aspx

Contact information

  • Elizabeth Masters (Media Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3957 m 0417 247 157 e elizabeth.masters@naa.gov.au
Copyright National Archives of Australia 2014