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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.

Tamara Tchinarova, 1938

Max Dupain

gelatin silver photograph on paper

Tamara Tchinarova (1919-2017), dancer, was a pupil of the great Russian teacher Olga Preobrajenska, formerly of the Imperial Russian Ballet. She went to Roumanian Bessarabia soon after the Russian Revolution, and at seventeen became one of the original 'baby ballerinas' of Colonel de Basil's 1932 Ballets Russes company. Tchinarova came to Australia on the first and second tours of the Russian ballets. At the conclusion of the second tour she elected to remain here. In about 1939 she married the young actor Peter Finch, who had recently made his film debut in Dad and Dave Come to Town. During the 1940s she contributed significantly to the development of fledgling Australian dance companies including the Kirsova Ballet and the Borovansky Ballet. After she retired from dancing she worked as a Russian/English interpreter for touring ballet companies, including the Australian Ballet, and as a dance writer.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Rex Dupain 2003
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program

Accession number: 2003.75

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Max Dupain (age 27 in 1938)

Tamara Tchinarova (age 19 in 1938)

Subject professions

Performing arts

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.

Sydney Ure Smith, 1948 Max Dupain
Sydney Ure Smith, 1948 Max Dupain
Sydney Ure Smith, 1948 Max Dupain
Sydney Ure Smith, 1948 Max Dupain

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, 1936-37 Max Dupain
Hélène Kirsova in Petrouchka, 1936-37 Max Dupain
Hélène Kirsova in Petrouchka, 1936-37 Max Dupain
Hélène Kirsova in Petrouchka, 1936-37 Max Dupain

Vintage Max

Magazine article by Gael Newton, 2003

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

Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark, 2000 Peter Wegner
Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark, 2000 Peter Wegner
Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark, 2000 Peter Wegner
Portrait of Professor Graeme Clark, 2000 Peter Wegner

Portraits for Posterity

Previous exhibition, 2006

Drawn from some of the many donations made to the Gallery's collection, the exhibition Portraits for Posterity pays homage both to the remarkable (and varied) group of Australians who are portrayed in the portraits and the generosity of the many donors who have presented them to the Gallery.

We would like to thank our partners.
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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.