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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.

Barbara Robison, 1935

Max Dupain

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 52.3 cm x 39.2 cm, image: 30.0 cm x 36.2 cm)

Barbara Robison (b. 1900) was a young Sydney identity. This photograph appeared in Max Dupain's first photo spread in the Home magazine in November 1935, soon after Dupain had written an article about Man Ray for the same magazine. 'Experiments in Portraiture by Max Dupain' featured a photograph of Hera Roberts developed in 'a cunning blending of positive and negative' alongside this picture of Miss Robison, which was captioned: 'The rise and fall of tone that gives the delicate modelling of this exquisite face are so imperceptible in their transition and the whole conception so medieval in character that, as a portrait, it would seem to have come under the supervision of Botticelli.' The Home of December 1936 reported that Miss Robison, while 'interested in designing and drawing and acting', 'denies the rumour that she has been engaged to understudy Merle Oberon on the screen'.

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

Accession number: 2003.76

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Max Dupain (age 24 in 1935)

Barbara Robison (age 35 in 1935)

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.

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.

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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.