2019 Darkroom Dinner Auction Items
Veteran Gums (Castlemaine) 1934
gelatin silver print 24.3 x 25.5 x cm
donated by Anne Christoffersen in memory of her mother Carmen Field, nee Cazneaux
estimate: $1800 – $2200
Harold Cazneaux (1878–1953) was an exponent of the pictorialist movement and a key figure in the history of photography in Australia. Cazneaux is represented in the MGA Collection with comparable landscape images.
Cazneaux’s career began in photographic studios, first in Adelaide and then in Sydney. In Sydney, he exhibited in local photographic competitions and held his first solo exhibition in 1909. His subject matter focused mainly on portraiture, city views and landscapes which is illustrative of his interest in natural light and which also reflects his belief that photography should be used as a form of artistic expression. He was a founding member of the Sydney Camera Circle and, through his photography, writing and teaching, made a significant contribution to Australian photography in the early twentieth century.
This photograph was made on Cazneaux’s visit to Melbourne in 1934 to judge the Fifth International Salon, held by the Victorian Salon of Photography from 30th October to 10th November 1934. A bromoil version of this subject was included in the slides shown at Cazneaux’s national tribute evening at the Assembly Hall in Sydney on 27 October 1952. In his commentary on the night Cazneaux commented that ‘Veteran Gums’ was ‘An interesting example of the use of the control processes to simplify a scene by repressing unwanted details is seen in this recent print, the original bromide of which suffered from a degree of disturbing background trouble.’
This is a vintage gelatin silver exhibition print after the bromoil version – it is not a later reproduction print for a publication. (Gael Newton AM, former Senior Curator, National Gallery of Australia, 16 April 2019)
This print is from the collection of photographs that were obtained directly from the estate of Harold Cazneaux passed through his widow Winifred Cazneaux to their daughters and thence to their children.