J. W. Lindt
'Mourners and dead house at Kalo, New Guinea' 1885
Purchased 2005

Johannes Lindt emigrated to Australia from Germany in 1862. He took up photography in Grafton, New South Wales, where he made his reputation in 1873 with a series of studio portraits of local Indigenous people. Lindt was, however, more interested in New Guinea than in Australia -- a fascination dating from 1868 when he travelled home from a trip to Europe via the Torres Strait. Following the proclamation of an Australian protectorate over part of south-east New Guinea in 1884, Lindt secured passage as a voluntary member of the expedition of Sir Peter Scratchley, Special Commissioner for Great Britain in New Guinea.

In 1887 Lindt published a book on his trip -- Picturesque New Guinea. With an historical introduction and supplementary chapters on the manners and customs of the Papuans -- illustrated with fifty photomechanical prints. It was a great success and became a first introduction to New Guinea for many general readers.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Ron Radford (ed), Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2008

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Australian Art

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The National Gallery of Australia's collection of Australian art reflects its unique national responsibility to present the story of visual art in Australia.

The collection includes works of consistently high quality and outstanding aesthetic merit…


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The National Gallery of Australia's collection of Australian art reflects its unique national responsibility to present the story of visual art in Australia.

The collection includes works of consistently high quality and outstanding aesthetic merit -- works by artists from all Australian states and territories and by Australian artists working overseas, as well as works by artists living for a time in Australia. The wide-ranging collection of the work of Indigenous artists from all regions and urban areas of Australia is covered under Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.

The Gallery's permanent displays of Australian art are presented in an integrated and broadly chronological arrangement of works from the earliest colonial period to the present day: paintings and sculptures, works on paper, photographs and other photomedia, decorative arts and design. Because of New Zealand's geographical and historical proximity to Australia, works by New Zealand artists are collected selectively and often displayed alongside Australian works.

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