Australia 1911 – 1992

Self-portrait 1935 Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph

Primary Insc: Signed in pencil, l..r. recto, ' - Max Dupain '35'
Dimensions: printed image 30.2 h x 25.2 w cm sheet 41.3 h x 29.2 w cm
Acknowledgement: Gift of Jill White
Accession No: NGA 2006.1062
  • Many portraits of the very photogenic Dupain exist, taken by photographers including Cotton, Geoffrey Powell, Athol Shmith, and later in his life by Carol Jerrems and Jill White. Dupain also took self-portraits throughout his career. Typical of the self-portrait genre, Dupain used it to publicise his work and to demonstrate his capabilities as both a commercial photographer and as a creative image maker. This quite whimsical self-portrait shows the twenty-four years old photographer at the time he was consolidating his relationship to the pictorial and stylistic possibilities of Surrealism. He shows himself as a dreamer who conjures his most striking images in sleep, in an image recalling the symbolist poet Saint-Pol-Roux’s sign, put on his door each night before he slept, ‘Poet at work’.

    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra