Ludwig HIRSCHFELD MACK, Desolation: Internment camp, Orange, N.S.W. Enlarge 1 /1


Frankfurt, Germany 1893 – Victoria, Australia 1965

  • England 1936-40
  • Australia from 1940

Desolation: Internment camp, Orange, N.S.W. c.1941 Place made: Orange, New South Wales, Australia
Materials & Technique: prints, ink; paper woodcut, printed in black ink, from one block; hand-coloured Support: paper

Dimensions: printed image 21.8 h x 13.2 w cm sheet 26.0 h x 20.6 w cm
Acknowledgement: Gift of Olive Hirschfeld 1979
Accession No: NGA 79.814
Subject: War: second world war, 1939-1945
  • Gift to the Australian National Gallery, from the artist’s widow Olive Hirschfeld, 1979.

The German artist Ludwig Hirschfeld Mack fled Germany in 1936, only to be interned in 1940 by the English. Because of his nationality, Mack was sent to Australia with other German and Italian intellectuals, artists, professionals and craftsmen.

For two years he lived behind barbed wire in camps in Hay, Orange and Tatura.

The night time sky, captured dramatically in this woodcut print, was as foreign as the daylight landscape in which he found himself. The vast space of the sky accentuates the misery he experienced within the enclosing fence.

Desolation, Internment camp, Hay, New South Wales was made in 1941, a year before Hirschfeld Mack’s unconditional release. He took up a teaching position in Victoria and remained in Australia.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra