In 1940 the Dunera, a ship carrying 2,000 German and Italian internees arrived in Sydney from England. Among those on board were prominent intellectuals, artists, craftsmen and professionals, most of whom had fled Fascist and Nazi persecution in their own countries, only to be perceived as an alien threat when they arrived in England. The majority were transferred to interment camps in Hay, then Orange in New South Wales and Tatura in Victoria, where they were imprisoned for almost two years.
Many internees sought solace in intellectual and creative activities and both professional and amateur artists, such as Max Cohen and Kurt Winkler, made art in the camps. There was much discussion and exchange of ideas among the men, as well as more formal classes - Hirschfeld Mack taught colour theory at Orange, while sculptor Heinz Henghes discussed his own sculpture and international contemporary art with others.
Ludwig Hirschfeld Mack was the most highly trained artist amongst 'The Dunera Boys', as the internees came to be known. He had studied at the Bauhaus in Germany between 1919 and 1925 and while interned made monotypes, watercolours and drawings based on this training. Hirschfeld Mack made a number of evocative woodcuts of the camps that forcefully expressed the alien conditions and landscape in which the prisoners found themselves.
Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2001
woodcut, printed in brown ink on ochre wove paper
13.4 x 18.5 cm blockmark; 20.1 x 28.1 cm sheet (irreg.)
Signature & date
Signed l.r. below blockmark, pencil "L. Hirschfeld.". Dated l.l. below blockmark, pencil "... May - July 1941".
Gift of Mr Henry Lippmann 1990
© Reproduced with permission
Where the work was made
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Modernism 1900-1950: prints and drawings from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 23 Jul 1994–25 Sep 1994
Bauhaus and Expressionism: German prints and drawings from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale, 04 Mar 2005–15 May 2005
Referenced in 1 publication
Renée Free, Modernism 1900-1950: prints and drawings from the collection, Sydney, 1994.