The Paris ‘Private’ Series

Art Life , Exhibitions Aug 18, 2014 No Comments

From Andrew Frost

In 1978 veteran Australian photographer Max Dupain went to Paris with architect Harry Seidler. The journey was ostensibly to photograph Seidler’s newly completed Australian Embassy building – and those images of the bunker-like structure have their own iconic charm – but while Dupain was in Paris he also had the opportunity to venture out into the boulevards and take some shots of that fabled city of art and culture. A keen student of the work of Eugène Atget, Dupain was drawn to the 18th and 19th-century landmarks including the Alexandre III bridge, Chantilly and the Grand Palais.

dupain invalides

A unrepentant modernist, Dupain’s images of Paris – his private works that were subsequently donated to the Art Gallery of NSW by Penelope Seidler – are an beguiling mixture of tourist snaps and carefully crafted architectural studies, one style at odds with the other perhaps but also evidence that even the most exacting eye can be seduced by the romance of Paris – a city long imagined but rarely visited by antiopdeans before the jet age tourism. Shown alongside other photographs of man made and natural structures from the 1930s to the 1980s, Dupain’s work exudes a kind of modernist classicism, often copied but rarely equalled.

Until August 31
Art Gallery of NSW, The Domian
Pic: Max Dupain, Untitled (Napoleon’s statue on the balcony of Les Invalides), 1978 from The Paris ‘private’ series, gelatin silver photograph, 38 × 24cm.

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Andrew Frost

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