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Australian art


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Untitled (Portrait of Norman Lindsay at the pianola)

circa 1920


Harold Cazneaux

New Zealand, Australia

30 Mar 1878 - 19 Jun 1953


Norman Lindsay was an eminent Australian cartoonist, etcher, novelist and print-maker who exhibited and published widely during his life. He spent much of his youth and early adulthood travelling through Europe and around Australia before settling in Springwood, New South Wales in 1911. Lindsay’s diverse outputs ranged from World War One propaganda posters for the Australian enlistment campaign to the children’s classic, ‘The Magic Pudding’ (1918) and watercolours and etchings which excited controversy 1. Cazneaux shot many portraits of Lindsay, the Lindsay family and models at the Springwood homestead. Lindsay rejected conventional modernist aesthetics in his work and he was an outspoken critic of the modernist movement 2.
Harold Cazneaux was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1878. His parents, Pierce Mott Cazneau and Emma Florence (née Bentley) worked in commercial studios in New Zealand before returning to settle permanently in Adelaide during the early 1890s. At the age of 18 Cazneaux went to work alongside his father at Hammer & Co studio as a retoucher. He moved to Sydney in 1904 to join the larger portrait firm, Freeman’s quickly ascending to the position of ‘chief operator’ (as camera portraitists were known). Studio work was highly formulaic, with little scope for creativity. Cazneaux used his time walking to and from work to experiment with pictorialist aesthetics 3. The Photographic Society of New South Wales organised an exhibition of Cazneaux’s photographs in 1909, the first such solo exhibition of its kind in Australia. In 1916 he and fellow pictorialist photographer, Cecil Bostock founded the Sydney Camera Circle. The group was particularly interested in the how pictorialism could be adapted to and extended within an Australian context. The mechanised, standardised and frenetic pace of Freeman’s increasingly took its toll on Cazneaux’s creativity and health, and he resigned in 1917. He moved with his wife and daughters to the Sydney suburb of Roseville, and in 1920 he was employed as the official photographer for The Home magazine. This new position let him work in a varied indoor and outdoor environments. In 1938 Cazneaux was awarded an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society of London. He continued to work until his death in 1953.
1. Smith B 1986, ‘Lindsay, Norman Lafred (1879-1969)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography,, accessed 7 July 2016; Australian Art: Works for Academy Exhibition, ‘Sydney Morning Herald’, 6 June 1923 p 12
2. Newton G 1988, ‘Shades of Light: Photography and Australia 1839-1988’, Australian National Gallery, Canberra p 112
3. Ibid p 85



circa 1920

Media category


Materials used

gelatin silver photograph


23.4 x 17.9 cm image/sheet; 29.1 x 22.5 cm card 1; 29.4 x 22.8 cm card 2

Signature & date

Signed l.l. card 1, pencil "Cazneaux". Not dated.


Gift of the Cazneaux family 1984


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Harold Cazneaux

Works in the collection


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

  • Critic's Choice, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Apr 1994–10 Jul 1994

Referenced in 1 publication


Robert McFarlane, Critic's Choice, Sydney, 1994.