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Australian Pavilion at the New York World Fair in 1939

January 28th, 2013 by

New Acquisition - Object No: 2008/100/1-1 Photograph (1 of 10), Australian Pavilion, New York World's Fair 1939, photographed by Robert E. Coates, ...

This image is one of a series of photographs taken of the displays in the Australian Pavilion at the New York World’s fair held in 1939. This display features wool the famous Australian export and mainstay of the economy from the 1800s to the 1960s. Although the product featured was very traditional, the display itself was the height of modernism.

The collection database states:

This was the first time that architects and designers collaborated to develop a pavilion that reflected the state of Australian modernism. Sydney architects, Stephenson & Turner, worked with graphic designer Douglas Annand to create a flowing, multi-level space that integrated sculpture, photography, murals and displays about flora, fauna and industry.

The English journal ‘Architectural Review’ commended the pavilion for its mural displays and the involvement of some leading Australian modernists. Its success set a new and creative tone for future Australian pavilions

The aim of the World Fair was to showcase the ‘world of tomorrow’ and the Australian Pavilion was designed to place Australia as a modern nation ready to embrace all that the 20th century had to offer.

Post by Lynne McNairn

Photography:Robert E Coats, New York City, 1939
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