An image of Doris Zinkeisen

Harold Cazneaux

(New Zealand, Australia 30 Mar 1878 – 19 Jun 1953)

Doris Zinkeisen

Location
Not on display
Further information

Harold Cazneaux’s portrait of Doris Zinkeisen was the first photographic cover for ‘The Home’ magazine. Launched in Sydney in 1920, ‘The Home’ was styled after the high quality and exclusivity of Vogue, and Cazneaux was its chief photographer. The magazine was one of the main sources through which Australian women were exposed to international modernist trends in art, fashion and furnishings. It set an avant-garde tone by employing contemporary artists such as Margaret Preston, Grace Cossington Smith and Thea Proctor, all of whom embodied the assertive, independent and free-thinking ideal of the modern woman. Doris Zinkeisen was a British painter and theatre designer who epitomised the ‘New Feminine Beauty’ described by ‘The Home’ in 1929 as: ‘stark simplicity of line, of corners, angles, slimness, sharpness … twenty years ago we were born curvy and now we are born straight.’ 1

Cazneaux’s portrait manifests Zinkeisen’s modernity in its clarity, its crisp use of line and its decorative use of pattern. The leaf backdrop painted by the Australian artist Adrian Feint was inspired by the newly minted ‘Poiret’ fabrics designed by the Fauve painter Raoul Dufy. Zinkeisen’s modish cloche hat echoes this background, creating an effect of simultaneous flatness and depth. This gesture towards modernism’s abstraction of form was a departure from Cazneaux’s signature pictorialist style. Conscious of the need to embrace the look of the modernist aesthetic it promulgated, ‘The Home’s’ editor, Leon Gellert, encouraged Cazneaux to challenge his own style, and this fine portrait is the result.

1. 1929, 'The Home', May, in Hill V 2000, 'The Cazneaux women', Craftsman House, Sydney p 73

© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007

Year
1929
Media
Photograph
Medium
gelatin silver photograph
Dimensions
25.0 x 19.8 cm image/sheet
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Credit
Gift of the Cazneaux family 1975
Accession number
164.1975