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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Sydney Ancher

c. 1962
Max Dupain OBE

gelatin silver photograph on paper (40.0 cm x 38.5 cm)

Sydney Ancher (1904-1980), architect, graduated from Sydney Tech College in 1930. Winning the Board of Architects of New South Wales Travelling Scholarship enabled him to work and travel in England and Europe, where he absorbed the Modernist ideas of the Bauhaus group. In 1945 he won the Sulman Medal for his own house in Killara, and the following year he founded one of Sydney's major architectural firms, Ancher, Mortlock, Murray and Woolley. In 1959 Sir John Overall appointed the firm to design public housing for the National Capital Development Commission with Ancher, then recognised as one of Sydney's leading architects, in charge. His Northbourne Housing Group was completed in 1962 and dramatically photographed by Dupain, who worked for the NCDC in 1963. Ancher's only large medium density housing design, the complex along the arterial approach to the city remains Australia's leading example of public housing constructed according to Bauhaus principles.

Gift of Rex Dupain 2003. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
© Max Dupain/Copyright Agency, 2021

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Max Dupain OBE (age 51 in 1962)

Sydney Ancher (age 58 in 1962)

Subject professions

Architecture, design and fashion

Donated by

Rex Dupain (15 portraits)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

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Dupain detective

Magazine article by Johanna McMahon, 2019

Johanna McMahon revels in history and mystery in pursuit of a suite of unknown portrait subjects.

Hélène Kirsova in Petrouchka
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Hélène Kirsova in Petrouchka
Hélène Kirsova in Petrouchka

Vintage Max

Magazine article by Gael Newton, 2003

Gael Newton delves into the life and art of renowned Australian photographer, Max Dupain.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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