Olive COTTON, The Budapest String Quartet Enlarge 1 /1

Olive COTTON

Australia 1911 – 2003

The Budapest String Quartet 1937 Place made: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph Support: cream matt textured photographic paper on cardboard

Primary Insc: signed and dated on backing sheet l.r., pencil "Olive Cotton '37" titled on backing sheet l.l., pencil "The Budapest String Quartet" artist stamp on backing sheet reverse u.l., red ink "OLIVE COTTON / CALARE BUILDING / COWRA
Tertiary Insc: inscribed on backing sheet reverse c.l., pencil "15cm deep"
Dimensions: printed image 27.8 h x 28.6 w cm sheet 27.8 h x 28.6 w cm backing sheet 33.4 h x 33.6 w
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1987
Accession No: NGA 87.1436

The Dupain studio was commissioned to photograph the Budapest String Quartet, which conducted a 20-week tour of Australia during 1937. Cotton took a series of informal photographs of the musicians while Dupain arranged them for his more formal portrait. She took this photograph while they played a serenade by Tchaikovsky, and it draws on her own deep love for music: ‘I wanted to get the feeling of a group making music that they loved’. Compared with Dupain’s official portrait, Cotton’s photograph shows each of the men self-absorbed in their playing.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra