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Clem Seale and Robert Emerson Curtis, c. 1944

Max Dupain

gelatin silver photograph

Robert Emerson Curtis (1899-1996), illustrator and painter, arrived in Sydney from England in 1924. During World War 2 he worked as a Camouflage Officer attached to the RAAF in Cairns and New Guinea before being appointed an Official War Artist in 1945. The Australian War Memorial holds more than 200 of his works, as well as more photographs of Curtis by Dupain. In the postwar years Curtis shared Dupain's interest in the construction of the Opera House; his A Vision Takes Form - Sydney Opera House was published in 1967. Clem Seale (b. 1922), who is shown sketching Curtis in this photograph, shared a hut with Dupain and Curtis on Goodenough Island, New Guinea during the war. Seale went on to a successful career as an illustrator, painter and lecturer, working for a long time for the Sydney Morning Herald and teaching architectural drawing at the University of Sydney. His son John is an Academy Award-winning cinematographer.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by Timothy Fairfax AC 2003

Accession number: 2003.28

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Max Dupain (age 33 in 1944)

Robert Emerson Curtis (age 46 in 1944)

Clem Seale

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

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