Photographs

Duldig Studio Museum & Sculpture Garden Photography Archive Project

This Photography Archive Project resulted in the researching, cataloguing, digitising and sharing of some of the museum’s most significant and culturally rich photo media archives. These include documentary photographs, slides and negatives taken by Karl Duldig and eminent Melbourne photographers Mark Strizic and Wolfgang Sievers, dating from the 1930s to 1985. They tell the powerful story of the Duldig family, their lives as artists and relationships with and contribution to the émigré community in Melbourne.

Duldig Studio gratefully acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government and Public Record Office Victoria for making this project possible.

The 1931 European Honeymoon Album 

 Karl and Slawa married in December 1931 and travelled abroad for their honeymoon to Italy and France. There are 110 ‘honeymoon’ photographs taken by Karl, some in locations so far unidentified. They are a remarkable record of their travel, and also important documentation of pre-war Italy and France. A number of the locations which they visited such as the medieval Porte Guillaume, Chartres and the Crystal Casino, Nice were damaged or destroyed during the second World War. 

Karl’s skill as an amateur but enthusiastic photographer is seen in his talent for composition, and contrast – the play of light and dark. It is probable that he used a self-timer to delay the shot so that he could be included, as a number of the photographs feature both he and Slawa. 

Image: Slawa Horowitz and Karl Duldig, Verona, Italy, 1931

 

 

Places identified so far include Verona, city of lovers, Pavia and Milan in Italy, Monte Carlo, capital of the Principality of Monaco and Nice, Cannes and Menton on the French Riviera. It was their first visit to Paris and they took in various sites and museums in the city, including the Musée de Louvre and the Musée de Cluny, Place de la Concorde, Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower as well as travelling to Chartres, where they recorded sculptures on the Cathedral exterior and the old town, and the Château de Versailles. 

The likely route of their journey would have entailed trains across the top of Italy, from Vienna, stopping in Verona, Milan and visiting Pavia. Then from Milan to Genoa, and the French coast – Menton, Monaco, Nice, Cannes and Marseilles. 

The locations identified suggest that they may have taken the luxury Le Train Bleu/Cote d’Azur Pullman Express which ran from Marseilles to Paris at that time. 

Of particular interest as well are the sculptures Karl photographed along the way in various museums. They clearly show his fascination with Etruscan, Greek and Roman, Romanesque and Gothic sculpture. Some photographs are of sculptures and statuettes held in the Louvre, seen in these photographs as displayed in the 1930s. A record of a time now lost. 

 31 of the 110 photographs of their tour of Italy and France can be seen in the linked video.

Émigré photographers Mark Strizic and Wolfgang Sievers

Mark Strizic

Respected émigré photographer Mark Strizic (1928-2012) arrived in Australia from Zagreb in the 1950s and is considered ‘the last of an important group of European émigré photographers migrating to Australia, which also included Wolfgang Sievers and Henry Talbot, who immeasurably enriched Australian photography’ according to ANU Associate Professor Martyn Jolly. The Duldig Studio holds 33 images by Mark Strizic in a variety of formats including negatives, slides and prints.

Strizic photographed Karl Duldig in his Studio, now part of the Duldig Studio museum. It is one of a series of portraits of eminent Australian sculptors, painters and scientists that Strizic took during the 1960s and later. The photographs held at the Studio include a version of this portrait and photographs taken in preparation for the book Karl Duldig Sculpture, published in 1966. As well there is a record of an exhibition of Karl’s sculptures and drawings held at Realities Gallery, Toorak in 1971 and of Karl Duldig’s bronze sculpture Echo (1972) in the garden at 92 Burke Road, East Malvern. A bronze of this is now at McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery. Strizic also took striking photographs of Dawn, the monument to Jewish sportsmen who died in the Holocaust, He photographed the bronze at night, in the Artist’s Studio, prior to it being sent to Israel.

Click the link to view a selection from the collection.

Image: Slawa Horowitz and Karl Duldig, Verona, Italy, 1931

Wolfgang Sievers

Eminent modernist photographer Wolfgang Sievers (1913-2007) photographed the exterior of Factor’s, 505 St Kilda Road, Melbourne in 1960, possibly commissioned by the architectural firm which designed the building. Karl Duldig had been commissioned in 1959 to create two murals, Progress of Man (facing left) and an untitled abstract design (facing right) for the facade of the building which are captured in these photographs. Sievers photographs emphasise the building’s height and monumentality.

The Duldig Studio holds three ‘laser’ prints stamped with Sievers’ ink stamp on the verso. It also holds a number of other photographs of the façade taken by Karl Duldig.

In 1996 new owners destroyed the murals. The resultant public outcry inspired the formation of the Public Art Committee of the National Trust (Victoria), set up to act to protect public art in Victoria.

Click the link to view a selection from the collection.

Image: Slawa Horowitz and Karl Duldig, Verona, Italy, 1931

Karl Duldig’s major public commissions in Melbourne 

Four of Karl Duldig’s major public commissions in Melbourne are documented in photographs held in the Duldig Studio collection. These commissions reflect Karl’s deep connections with the Jewish community in Melbourne. They are the bas-relief Holocaust Memorial, Melbourne General Cemetery, Carlton (1963), The ‘Abstract Symbol’ Star (1972-73) for the Elwood Talmud Torah (Synagogue), and the ceramic relief and stained-glass windows (1972) for the Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre, Elsternwick. As well, Karl’s last major work was the memorial to Swedish diplomat and ‘righteous gentile’ Raoul Wallenberg (1985), a bronze bust mounted on stones at Kew Junction, Melbourne.

In the two Melbourne commissions in bronze, realised twenty years apart, (1963 and 1985) we see the artist striving to honour acts of bravery undertaken during the Second World War. Dr Jane Eckett has noted of the 1985 bronze of Wallenberg, 

‘the commemorative aspect, memorializing a champion of European Jewry, aligned with Duldig’s longstanding commitment to celebrate the endurance of the Jewish people in the face of adversity as reflected in his two other major bronze commissions: the 1963 war memorial at Carlton and the 1968 Hakoah Monument in Israel.’ 

(Eckett, J. ‘Securing a Legacy, Karl Duldig’s bronzes’ in Karl Duldig A Living Legacy exhibition catalogue, 2021) 

Click the link to view a selection from the collection.

Image: Bas-relief for the Holocaust Memorial (Carlton War Memorial), Melbourne General Cemetery, Carlton. (1963)