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Australian art

Contemporary art

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Robert Klippel

Australia, United States of America

19 Jun 1920 - 19 Jun 2001


This collage is made from photographs taken from a nineteenth century book containing hundreds of finely detailed drawings of machines. Klippel cut and assembled the work, beginning with the vertical forms and building up the landscape section. The title 'Philadelphia' is taken from the frequent appearance of that name on the machine parts. In the late nineteenth century Philadelphia was the centre of an important industrial area in the United States of America. Klippel kept the name partly because of its mechanical associations and partly because of associations with works by Duchamp and Cézanne he had seen in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

An overwhelming surrealist/mechanist landscape, it is the largest and most important collage Klippel had so far produced, and a key work in the Gallery's representation of his art.

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000




Media categories

Mixed media , Collage

Materials used

photomontage on paper on canvas


151.5 x 242.5 cm sheet; 155.5 x 246.3 x 3.2 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r. corner, black ink "Robert Klippel 1979".


Purchased 1980


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Robert Klippel

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 9 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 10 publications


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Robert Klippel: collage and drawings, 1947-1983, Sydney, 1984. 147

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Dead Sun, Sydney, 1997.

Helen Campbell, Look, 'Stuck on you', pg. 16-19, Sydney, Sep 2016, 16,17.

Deborah Edwards, Robert Klippel: large wood sculptures and collages, 'Robert Klippel - Large Wood Sculptures and Collages', pg. 7-35, Sydney, 1995, 26 (illus.).

Deborah Edwards, Robert Klippel, 'Scaled to nature: Sydney 1970s-80s', pg. 134-186, Sydney, 2002, 138, 139 (illus., detail), 141, 143, 167 (illus.), 257.

James Gleeson, Robert Klippel, 'Plenum: Sydney 1976-82', pg. 381-460, Kensington, 1983, 447 (illus.). LS 108

Brian Ladd, The sculptor's studio: Robert Klippel, Sydney, 1990, 4 (illus.).

Humphrey McQueen, Art Monthly Australia, 'Positions vacant', pg. 21-23, Canberra, Sep 2000, 23.

Barry Pearce, Three years on: a selection of acquisitions 1978-1981, 'Australian Art', pg. 5-26, Sydney, 1981, 17 (illus.). 23

David Tunny., Look, 'The sculptor's studio: Robert Klipel', Heidelberg, May 1990, 12 (illus.).