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An image of Rib segments, Sydney Opera House by Max Dupain

Max Dupain

(Australia 22 Apr 1911 – 27 Jul 1992)

Rib segments, Sydney Opera House
Media category
Materials used
gelatin silver photograph

44.3 x 56.3 cm image; 50.7 x 60.7 cm sheet

Signature & date
Signed and dated c. verso, pencil "1963/ Max Dupain".
Purchased 1984
Accession number
© Max Dupain, 1963. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney 2002
Not on display
Further information

Max Dupain devoted much of the latter part of his life to photographing architecture; evidenced in the "thousands of images" he took of the Sydney Opera House. With its simple geometric shapes and sharp lines, the building lent itself well to his modernist aesthetic. In many of these photographs, everyday elements became abstracted through the formal use of scale and perspective. In this photograph form clearly governs the composition. The human figure is rendered largely insignificant against a monumental architectural background. In describing his passion for the built medium Dupain wrote:

"Dealing with architecture brings me very close to the state of mind required to making pictures. A fine building embodies so many elements of practical and aesthetic content: design, form, texture, human scale, craftsmanship and context. The photograph has to reiterate all these things or fail and you have only the bare necessities to do it: optics, chemistry and light".
[Source: Zeny Edwards 'Sydney's Dupain' in Jill White, Dupain's Sydney, Chapter & Verse, Sydney, 1999, p.12]

Photography Department, AGNSW, 2001

Bibliography (2)

Rose Peel, Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 'Australian postwar photo-documentary', pg.189-207, Sydney, 2007, 189.

Ursula Prunster, Sydney Opera House tenth anniversary, Sydney, 1982. 75.1984 - 80.1984 catalogue no's 17-21.

Exhibition history (3)

Sydney Opera House tenth anniversary, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 31 Dec 1982–31 Jan 1983

Souvenirs of Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 14 Mar 1992–10 May 1992

Max Dupain: the Paris 'private' series and other pictures, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 24 May 2014–31 Aug 2014