7 July – 2 September 2001
Ninety photographic works from London-based photographer Alec Murray’s archive documented his long career were shown for the first time to an Australian audience. Alongside the fashion photographs, vintage couture fashion selected by Lorraine Foster of the renowned Vintage Clothing Shop were displayed. Following the exhibition the original negatives were donated by the artist to the Art Gallery of New South Wales archive.
THE ALBUM: The glamour of 1940s society
Photographer Alec Murray provides us with an historical record of the ‘darlings of Sydney society’ and the bohemian art world in the 1940s through his book ‘The Alec Murray Album’ published by Sydney Ure Smith in 1948. At this time Murray photographed Sydney society such as the young Kerry Packer, the Arrighi children, socialites and models.
MERIOOLA: Art and elegance
Alec Murray was a member of the Merioola group of artists which included Donald Friend, Justin O’Brien, Harry Tatlock Miller, Loudon Sainthill and Jocelyn Rickards. The artists shared a rambling mansion house, ‘Merioola’ in Rosemont Ave, Woollahra and they exhibited together on two occasions. Murray’s photographic studio was in the old ballroom. Photographs included in the exhibition of his fellow artists by Murray capture the alternative but stylish lifestyle of the 1940s artworld.
LONDON: Sixties supermodels and celebrities
Murray moved to London in 1948 and went on to become a highly respected fashion photographer for Paris Match, Vanity Fair, Country Life, Tatler, Queen and others and covered such couture collections as Dior, Courreges, Nina Ricci, Givenchy and Chanel. His models included Jean Shrimpton and the exotic Veruschka. He also became respected as a celebrity photographer, recorded an intimate portrayal of the Royal Family at Sandringham and photographed the ‘darlings’of the theatre and ballet worlds such as Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir Alec Guiness, Peter Sellers, Joan Sutherland, Sir John Gielgud, Rudolph Nureyev and Robert Helpmann.
Main image: Galitzine white tasseled suit, Florence, 1960s