Harold Cazneaux Sydney Bridge c1934
From approximately 1920 to 1970
Modernism sought to build a better future in
the aftermath of World War I.
As an international movement, modernism
encapsulated the possibilities of the 20th
century. It celebrated the romance of cities, the
healthy body and the ideals of abstraction and
functionalism in design.
Modernist Photography is not simply a style but
more of an attitude, a determination to break
with the past and free the artist from the rules
of convention and etiquette.
To better understand the Modernist approach to photography…
Let’s first look at examples of modernist
abstract art from around the world.
Artists such as:
• Piet Mondrian
• Wassily Kandinsky
• Kasmir Malevich
• Vladimir Tatlin
• Robert Delaunay
Le manege de cochons
Óleo sobre lienzo
250 x 250 cm
Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, París
Composition IV 1911 (170 Kb); Oil on canvas, 159.5 x 250.5 cm (62 7/8 x 98 5/8 in); Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfallen, Dusseldorf
An Englishman in Moscow
Oil on canvas, 88 x 57 cm
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Tatlin’s Tower or The Monument to the Third
International was a grand monumental
building envisioned by the Russian artist.
Life with Gingerpot 2, 1912, oil on canvas.
Modernism in Australia
Roland Wakelin, New Zealand/Australia 1887-1971
The Bridge under construction 1928 -29
Oil on composition board
Grace Cossington Smith
The Bridge in-curve, 1930
Tempera on Cardboard
The curve of the bridge, 1928-29
Oil on Cardboard
• After World War 1, the photographic scene in
Australia was shaped by modernist influences
from abroad (Europe and later America).
• The world was changing.
• The goal was to express a
modern life, a modern city.
Max Dupain, Building the Opera House, Sydney 1962
Morning Rush Hour, Sydney Harbour Bridge, 1938