Max Dupain’s Record Breaker

If you think there’s no value in photography now that everyone’s got a camera in their pocket, you can think again.

Yesterday, a landmark auction of Australian photographer Max Dupain at Mossgreen Sydney totaled a record $1,663,237 – a new auction record for this country.

Max Dupain (1911-1992.: Estate Photographs consisted of 500 original photographs, all of which were sold to a mix of private and institutional collectors. Aside from the overall record, several individual records were broken, most notably Dupain’s iconic Sunbaker 1937 which far exceeded the previous record, selling for $105,400 and establishing a new world auction record for the artist (which probably had Dupain turning in his grave, given his despair at the disproportionate popularity of the image compared to his others).

One of Australia’s most revered photographers, Max Dupain began his studio practice in Sydney in 1934. In the 1950s, he turned from portraiture, advertising and capturing ballerinas and musicians for the ABC, to explore his growing interest in architectural photography (a particularly well known suite of images taken between 1958 and 1973 documented the construction of the Sydney Opera House). However it wasn’t until a retrospective exhibition of his work, mounted by the Australian Centre for Photography in 1975, toured the country that Dupain became more widely recognised by the Australian public and his images, including Sunbaker, heralded as portrayals of quintessential Australian life. Dupain continued to work in his Sydney studio right up until his death in 1992, at the age of 81.

And on that note…I’ll get back to pondering my favourite Instagram filter…



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