We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Design for a frieze

circa 1910-1920


John Kauffmann


29 Dec 1864 – 29 Nov 1942

  • Details

    Other Title
    circa 1910-1920
    Media category
    Materials used
    gelatin silver photograph, paper negative, retouched with pencil
    23.5 x 30.5 cm image; 26.6 x 31.8 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Gift of John Bilney 1978
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    John Kauffmann

    Works in the collection


  • About

    John Kauffmann was born in South Australia and trained in the office of architect John Harry Grainger. After attending art classes conducted by H.P. Gill, he travelled to London in 1887 where he studied photochemistry. In the early 1890s Kauffmann came into contact with the work of art photographers H. P. Robinson and Alfred Horsley-Hinton. He then studied intensively in Europe before returning to Adelaide in 1897.

    On his return, Kauffmann joined the South Australian Photographic Society and exhibited his work in Sydney and Adelaide - his work was very favourably received. In 1909 Kauffmann moved to Melbourne and in 1910 he held a large solo exhibition at the Victorian Photographic Association. The first Australian photographic monograph was published on the work of Kauffmann in 1919.

    Harold Cazneaux always referred to Kauffmann as Australia's pioneer pictorialist, though by the 1920s Kauffmann's work was falling out of favour because of its dark and misty aspect. Nonetheless, in terms of both technique and composition Kauffmann has remained Australia's most important art photographer of the early 20th century.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

Other works by John Kauffmann

See all 9 works