Max DUPAIN, Budapest String Quartet Enlarge 1 /1


Australia 1911 – 1992

Budapest String Quartet 1937 Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph

Dimensions: printed image 37.2 h x 49.1 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1983
Accession No: NGA 83.1336

While Dupain’s fashion work was notable for his use of the outdoors (he often staged fashion shoots at Cronulla Beach), the studio was the primary base for his commercial and much of his exhibition work. This cool portrait of the Budapest String Quartet was taken moments after Cotton’s much more lyrical portrait. The group portrait bears many of the defining characteristics of Dupain’s studio work, including his use of spotlights, figures frozen in space, and an evenly dispersed composition. While the highly formal character of the portrait (especially when compared to Cotton’s photograph) no doubt reflects its origins as a commission, it also speaks to Dupain’s general sense of photography’s ‘stillness’.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra