Harold Cazneaux’s portrait of Doris Zinkeisen was the first photographic cover for ‘The Home’ magazine. Launched in Sydney in 1920, ‘The Home’ was styled after the high quality and exclusivity of Vogue, and Cazneaux was its chief photographer. The magazine was one of the main sources through which Australian women were exposed to international modernist trends in art, fashion and furnishings. It set an avant-garde tone by employing contemporary artists such as Margaret Preston, Grace Cossington Smith and Thea Proctor, all of whom embodied the assertive, independent and free-thinking ideal of the modern woman. Doris Zinkeisen was a British painter and theatre designer who epitomised the ‘New Feminine Beauty’ described by ‘The Home’ in 1929 as: ‘stark simplicity of line, of corners, angles, slimness, sharpness … twenty years ago we were born curvy and now we are born straight.’ 1
Cazneaux’s portrait manifests Zinkeisen’s modernity in its clarity, its crisp use of line and its decorative use of pattern. The leaf backdrop painted by the Australian artist Adrian Feint was inspired by the newly minted ‘Poiret’ fabrics designed by the Fauve painter Raoul Dufy. Zinkeisen’s modish cloche hat echoes this background, creating an effect of simultaneous flatness and depth. This gesture towards modernism’s abstraction of form was a departure from Cazneaux’s signature pictorialist style. Conscious of the need to embrace the look of the modernist aesthetic it promulgated, ‘The Home’s’ editor, Leon Gellert, encouraged Cazneaux to challenge his own style, and this fine portrait is the result.
1. 1929, 'The Home', May, in Hill V 2000, 'The Cazneaux women', Craftsman House, Sydney p 73
© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007
gelatin silver photograph
25.0 x 19.8 cm image/sheet
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of the Cazneaux family 1975
Not on display
Shown in 8 exhibitions
Project 7 - Harold Cazneaux: 1878 - 1953 (1975), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 Aug 1975–28 Sep 1975
The Thirties and Australia, S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney, 19 Jun 1980–13 Jul 1980
Ten years on, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Jan 1986–Jan 1986
Harold Cazneaux, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Dec 1989–11 Mar 1990
Soft Shadows and Sharp Lines: Australian photography from Cazneaux to Dupain, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 Sep 2002–17 Nov 2002
Architects of Glamour + Masters of Style: excepts from a century of fashion photography, Queensland University of Technology Art Museum, Brisbane, 27 Jun 2003–07 Sep 2003
Harold Cazneaux: artist in photography, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 05 Jun 2008–10 Aug 2008
Sydney Moderns, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Jul 2013–07 Oct 2013
Referenced in 14 publications
Natasha Bullock, Harold Cazneaux: artist in photography, Sydney, 2008.
Natasha Bullock, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'Harold Cazneaux's New Idea portraits', pg.92-97, Sydney, 2013, 92, 93 (illus.).
Natasha Bullock (Curator), Soft shadows and sharp lines: Australian photography from Cazneaux to Dupain, Sydney, 2002. no pagination or catalogue numbers
Robyn Daw (Curator), Architects of Glamour + Masters of Style: Excerpts from a Century of Fashion Photography, 2003, 4, 5 (illus.). no catalogue numbers
Valerie Hill, The Cazneaux Women, 'See the beautiful 1920s-1930s', pg. 68-87, St Leonards, 2000, 72 (illus.), 73, 91 (illus.). plate no. 20
Alexandra Joel, Parade: The story of fashion in Australia, 'Those Fabulous Flappers', pg. 77-97, Pymble, 1998, 77, 94, 95 (illus.). This text was initially published in 1984 by Collins, titled "Best dressed".
Philip Kelleway, Highly desirable: the Zinkeisen sisters & their legacy, 2008, 163 (illus.). fig.13
Louise Mitchell, Aspects of Art Deco in Australia: Sunrise over the Pacific, 'Art Deco fashion in Australia', pg. 122-131, Sydney, 2001, 131 (illus.). plate no. 50
Francis J Mortimer (Editor), Photograms of the Year, London, 1929, 20. plate no. 51
Gael Newton, Silver and Grey - Fifty Years of Australian Photography 1900-1950, 1980. plate no. 29
Gael Newton, Project 7: Harold Cazneaux 1878 - 1953, Sydney, 1975. cat.no. 19
S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Thirties and Australia, Sydney, 1980, 18. cat.no. 86
Nicola Teffer, Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 'Fashion and celebrity', pg.169-187, Sydney, 2007, 177 (illus.).
Editor Unknown (Editor), The Home: an Australian quarterly, Sydney, Feb 1931, cover (illus.).