” The Colour of Bondi ” by Rex Dupain

” The Colour of Bondi ” by Rex Dupain

rex dupain high tide 2005

Rex Dupain – high tide 2005

Internationally recognised photographer Rex Dupain (b.1954) has been drawn to Bondi Beach since he turned his focus to photography in the mid 1990’s.

Prior to that time, Rex was well regarded on the Sydney art scene as a painter and lecturer, therefore his approach to photography is informed by his experiences with oil paint and brush.

Rex Dupain is currently exhibiting ” The Colour of Bondi ” in Michael Reid’s Sydney and Berlin Galleries in conjunction with the Josef Lebovic Gallery.

Girl With Red Towel, 2005

Girl With Red Towel, 2005

In this latest series, The Colour of Bondi, Rex Dupain has captured every aspect of the famous Bondi strip.

Its’ surfers, bathers, skaters, backpackers, musclemen, sun worshippers, divers and divas co-exist on this iconic beach that seems to define the quintessential Australian lifestyle.


The images reveal the beach throughout the seasons from the full glare of the summer sun to the atmospheric stormy skies coupled with the relentless movement of the sea.

The photographs are characterised by intense, saturated colour, strong composition and close observation of the action on the beach.

Peak Hour, 2005

Peak Hour, 2005

“Dupain’s sensibility lies in the world of the people who inhabit Bondi with their disparate interests and diverse cultural backgrounds.

The images of children, families and youths all take centre stage on the wide yellow sands and promenades that surround the beach.

Dupain is seemingly connected to his subjects for the briefest of moments yet his photographs often depict people at times of great concentration and focus

The intuitiveness and naturalness of the imagery imbues the works with a real sense of the human condition.

rex dupain

Since its invention over one hundred and fifty years ago photography has clearly changed the way that we see the world.

From its origins in recording and documenting it has been transformed into an art form which is constantly developing with technical advancements and innovative practitioners.

Rex Dupain is part of a generation of photographers exploring its endless possibilities and The Colour of Bondi is an exhibition to engage and inspire us all.”

……. Jane Watters Director, S.H. Ervin Gallery

rex dupain pre hung

Photographs framed $2,600 / Unframed $2,200



About Rex Dupain

rex dupain 2

Born in Sydney in 1954, Rex Dupain was introduced to photography at a young age but put his photographic pursuits on hold to study painting in the 1970s at The National Art School, where he later taught painting and drawing.

He went on to complete a Master of Fine Arts (Painting) at The University of NSW in 1992, and pursued a successful career as a painter.

It wasn’t until the mid 1990s that Rex rediscovered his love and talent for photography.


His work has since been exhibited widely around Australia and the rest of the world, including an exhibition in Paris in 2010.

His work has been collected by major galleries including the Australian Museum and the National Portrait Gallery as well as privately by people including Sir Elton John, Edmund Capon and Baz Luhrmann.

inside sydney

Rex has also had several photographic books published, including Bondi to Broken Hill, Australian Images, Inside Sydney, and The Colour of Bondi, and Australia: 150 Photographs, 2010.

the colour of bondi


“The process of photography is so beautiful that sometimes I find myself working in a state of absolute disbelief as the pictures present themselves to me.

book cover

Rex Dupain’s country is a place of iconic but nameless landscapes and astonishing visual contradictions.

Dupain renders the ordinary remarkable.


He delights in the unrehearsed setting, the chance encounter, but is not afraid to adjust reality to deepen the meaning or power of an image.

Through this superb collection, Dupain reintroduces us to the bush, coast and suburbs of a diverse country.

His images help us refine our appreciation of the power of our physical environment, both natural and man-made, and deepen our understanding of a flawed but ultimately extraordinary culture



Rex Dupain and the Sony Project

1972 portrait of max dupain by rex dupain

1972 portrait of max dupain by rex dupain

The Dupains are famous for their work illustrating Australians’ intimate relationship with beach culture.

”It represents outdoor life, the beach represents health and well-being,” Rex said.

rex dupain sony 2

Rex recreating the Surf Race photo by his father Max in 1940

The Sony project was an innovative way by Sony to launch its latest phone in Australia last year.

The advent of smartphones, which Mr Dupain said were now cameras that are phones instead of vice-versa, didn’t mean artists like him would be out of a job replaced by “citizen photographers’.

“Because every camera is a phone in today’s society everything is recorded but nothing is remembered,” he said.


Rex shoottng on the Sony Xperia Z1


Rex used the Sony Xperia Z1 phone to create six images with modern takes on his father’s Surf Race (1940), as well as three more of his own images, Girl With Red Towel (2005), At The Ropes (2005) and Chin Up (1997)




Rex recreates his father Max Dupain’s iconic photo  “The Sunbaker” ( 1937 )

Australian art photographer Rex Dupain has recreated using a simple Sony smartphone, one of Australia’s most iconic photos, The Sunbaker, ( 1937) shot by his father Max Dupain,

max dupain

Max Dupain died in 1992, aged 81.

Max Dupain, who died in 1992, was a supremely talented, industrious photographer, who spent the vast majority of his 58-year career capturing Sydney and the beaches of the New South Wales coast.

In a career stretching more than 50 years the photographer Max Dupain took hundreds of thousands of pictures in a pre-digital age.

meat queue by rex dupain

meat queue by Max Dupain

Born in Sydney in 1911, Max Dupain‘s photographs define Australian beach culture and it was the beach that was the inspiration for his most famous and enduring images: Sunbaker (1939), At Newport (1952) and Bondi (1939).


When it came to photography, Max Dupain‘s philosophy was about ‘simplicity’ and ‘directness’.

He remained an adherent of black and white photography, believing that colour was restricting in its objectivity, leaving little room for individual interpretation.


Max Dupain’s The Sunbaker, 1937

But more than any other work, Dupain is known for his iconic image Sunbaker (1937), a holiday snapshot of his friend Harold Salvage taken on a camping trip to Culburra Beach.

“We were camping down the south coast and one my friends leapt out of the surf and slammed down onto the sand to have a sunbake – marvellous.” …. Max Dupain

The story goes that he [Harold Salvage] just walked up out of the surf and flopped on the beach, .. I don’t think he set it up, I just think he happened to be in the right place at the right time“,….. Jill White, Dupain’s assistant for 40 years.


Not widely known until used as the poster for the opening exhibition of the Australian Centre for Photography in 1975, it has become one of the most reproduced Australian photographs.

The enormous success of Sunbaker, since the picture emerged from 38 years of obscurity at Dupain’s 1975 retrospective, coincides with a period when the sun-bronzed Australian surfer became entrenched in popular culture.

“An unforgettable image, it spoke to a young 1970s audience as being all about Australia,” says Gael Newton, senior photography curator at the National Gallery of Australia.

max dupain 1930s

max dupain 1930s

Rex Dupain said trying to recreate the spontaneous moment in Max Dupain’s 1937 “The Sunbaker” proved difficult.

He needed five shoots and two models to get it right.

“It was a forensic process as well as homage, the tilt of the head, the sculptured outline, the view of the surf under the armpit,” he said.

Rex said he was ”astounded” at how well his precisely copied version of a man lying face down on Bondi Beach turned out in large prints using Sony’s latest smartphone the Xperia Z1.

sunbaker high res

rex dupains ” sunbaker”



Rex Dupain – Colour of Bondi –  An exhibition held in two continents 3 April 2014 to 26 April 2014

Michael Reid is proud to present the Australian photographer Rex Dupain.

This exhibition is held in association with Josef Lebovic Gallery.


Sydney Exhibition

michael reid at elizabeth bay 2

44 Roslyn Gardens Elizabeth Bay, NSW, 2011


Berlin Exhibition

Official Opening: 2 April, 6-9 pm

michael reid berlin gallery 2

The Australian ambassador David Ritchie will officially open the first exhibition by Rex Dupain in Berlin with a short greeting.

The artist will be present.

Opening: 2.04.2014, 6 – 9 pm

Ackerstraße 163 10115 Berlin


Rex Dupain Portfolio

Hard-cover Publications

2010 Australia: 150 Photographs, Lantern/Penguin 2006 The Colour of Bondi, New Holland

2004 Inside Sydney, New Holland 2002 Australian Images, New Holland

1998 Bondi to Broken Hill, Harper Collins


Solo exhibitions (selected)

2013 Lovers and Soldiers, Josef Lebovic Gallery, Sydney

2010 The Colour of Bondi, Galerie Lucie Weill & Seligmann, Paris

2010 Recent Work and book launch, Tim Olsen Gallery, Sydney

2007 The Colour of Bondi, National Trust, S.H. Ervin, Sydney

2004 Max and Rex Dupain’s Sydney, Museum of Sydney

2003-05 Bathers and Bondi Colour, Rex Irwin Art Dealer, Sydney

2001 Selected Works, Byron Mapp Gallery, Sydney

1998 Bondi to Broken Hill, Australian Embassy, Paris

1998 Bondi to Broken Hill, Byron Mapp Gallery, Sydney


Group exhibitions (selected)

2012 Australian and International Photography: from Real to Surreal, Josef Lebovic Gallery, Sydney

2011 Australian and International Photography, Josef Lebovic Gallery, Sydney

2010 Australian and International Photography, Josef Lebovic Gallery, Sydney

2009 Australian Photography, Josef Lebovic Gallery, Sydney

2008 Industrial Photography: International and Australian, Josef Lebovic Gallery, Sydney

2007 The Photography Show, Association of International Photography Art Dealers, The Armory, New York

2007 Focus on Women, Josef Lebovic Gallery, Sydney

2006 People in Photography, Josef Lebovic Gallery, Sydney

2005 Australian Photography, Landscape & Cityscape, Josef Lebovic Gallery, Sydney 2004 Australian Photography, Josef Lebovic Gallery, Sydney

2002-03 Cole Classic, State Library of NSW

2001-07 Important Works on Paper, Rex Irwin Art Dealer, Sydney

2000 Federation: Australian Art and Society,

1901-2001, National Gallery of Australia

2000 Fine Photography, Josef Lebovic Gallery, Sydney

1998 Light and Shadow, Josef Lebovic Gallery, Sydney Waterproof, Centro Cultural de Belém,Lisbon

1997 20th Anniversary Photo Show, Josef Lebovic Gallery, Sydney



2009 Artist in residence, Taronga Zoo, Sydney

2003 Finalist, Photographic Portrait Prize, Art Gallery of NSW

1991-92 Finalist, Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of NSW

1986 Finalist, Sulman Prize, Art Gallery of NSW

1982 Finalist, Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of NSW

1969 1st and 2nd prize, Sydney Royal Easter Show Photographic Award



Historic Houses Trust

Malcolm Turnbull MP

National Library of Australia

National Portrait Gallery

Qantas Airways

Sydney City Council

The Baz Luhrmann Collection

The Edmund Capon Collection

The James Fairfax Collection

The Kerry Packer Collection

The Kirby Collection

The Pat Corrigan CollectioN


Lisbon University


Royal Society of London


The Robert Hughes Collection

Sir Elton John Photographic Collection

Private collections, NY, LA, MA


rex dupain at work on bondi beach


 About Michael Reid

michael reid

Michael Reid portrait painted by Adam Cullen

After a decade of arts industry experience with Christie’s London and Australia, culminating with the opening of a major representative office for Christie’s in Brisbane in 1996 before setting up his own art consultancy in 1996.

Michael went on for ten years to contribute weekly, as Art Market Analyst to the business section of The Australian newspaper.

Following his News Corporation decade, Michael wrote weekly for five years, with the Sydney Morning Herald / The Age ‘Good Weekend’ newspapers magazine.

Along side his work in the print media, Michael appeared weekly in 2008 and 2009 co-hosting a Sky Business News Channel art industry hour.

Michael has obtained degrees in the Law (Sydney University); Arts (Melbourne University); Masters of Arts Administration (University of New South Wales) and two post-graduate diplomas- one in fine art.

Until recently Michael lectured part-time at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales in art history and theory and the art market.

As well as advising private and corporate clients on their art collections, Michael has written publishes his own well-received art newsletter and is the author of the best-selling How to Buy and Sell Art.

Publishers Allen & Unwin republished his How to Buy & Sell Art (2004) book in early 2008; while his Guide to Australian Art Galleries was published with Allen & Unwin in 2005.

Australian Art: Who, when, what and how much? was co authored with Emily Cloney in 2011 & Nathan Taylor: The Poetics of Excess, again co authored with Emily Cloney in 2012

michael reid at work

michael reid at work

Michael is a co- founding director of Art Month Sydney  ; founder of Ackerstrasse “Open Street”, Berlin ; a director & deputy chair of the Foundation for Sydney Living Museums (former Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales};

He is a member of the Law Society of New South Wales; the Australian Antique Dealers Association and Berlin Art Galleries Association.

Michael Reid gallery at Elizabeth Bay offers collectors a rotation of approximately eight exhibitions per year, encompassing painting, sculpture and photography.

In addition to its’ exhibition schedule, the gallery provides our clients with a dedicated space for private treaty sales.

The underlying value of the exhibition schedule is that it affords collectors the opportunity to view and acquire artwork by emerging and established artists from around the country

Michael advises private clients on the formation of their art collections and in less than a decade has become one of the leading art dealers in the country.

Across three galleries (Sydney, Murrurundi & Berlin), Michael holds a number of important art exhibitions each year, showcasing the work of significant indigenous and non-indigenous artists.

The underlying value of the exhibition calendar is that it affords collectors the opportunity to view and acquire artwork—by established contemporary Australian artists—all around the world.

1 Comment

  1. diane marr - April 7, 2016

    Fabulous photos what a fabulous place Bondi Beach is no country in the world i imagine
    has such an iconic beach just a short drive from the city itself.

    Love the photos especially the pool at Bondi with the waves crashing over what a great
    image that is.

Share your thoughts