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Austria 1902 – Australia 1985

  • Australia from 1939

English red cross convoy in Portbou, 5 am, 6 June 1936 1936 Place made: Portbou, Spain
Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph

Primary Insc: Not signed, dated verso, upper right, blue ballpoint pen '... 5 a.m. 6 June 1936 ...' For more inscriptions see worksheets.
Secondary Insc: [See notes field]
Tertiary Insc: Stamp verso, lower centre, 'CONSELLERIA DE DEFENSA / Censura de Guerra / GENERALITAT DE CATALUNYA'
Dimensions: printed image 12.0 h x 17.0 w cm sheet 12.4 h x 17.4 w cm
Acknowledgement: Gift of the estate of Margaret Michaelis-Sachs 1986
Accession No: NGA 86.1384.14

The outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936 brought about an immediate re-orientation in Margaret Michaelis’s practice. She began to work quickly for a propagandist purpose. Their role was to present ordinary Catalan citizens in a positive light as they worked cheerfully and productively in support of the Spanish Republic.

Michaelis also photographed the famous anarchist Emma Goldman, who visited Spain in 1936 to witness the gains being made by the anarcho-syndicalist movement.

Margaret and Rudolf Michaelis divorced in 1937. He remained in Spain to fight with the republicans and she returned to her family in Poland, having managed to secure the release of her photographic equipment and her photographs which eventually followed her to Australia


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra