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The iconic image of Lloyd Rees by Michel Lawrence is the cover of the book, Framed: Photographs of Australian Artists by Michel Lawrence.
Cover of the book 'Framed: Photographs of Australian Artists by Michel Lawrence' features the iconic portrait of the artist Lloyd Rees.

Framed. Second-hand prices skyrocket.

Michel Lawrence’s book of photographic portraits of Australia’s leading 20th Century artists, ‘Framed’, is enjoying a strong resale market on Amazon.

The book – ‘Framed: Photographs of Australian artists by Michel Lawrence’ – was published by Hardie Grant in 1998 and has been out of print for many years.

Lloyd Rees cover of Good Weekend portrait by Michel Lawrence

Above: Michel Lawrence’s iconic portrait of Lloyd Rees which graces the cover of ‘Framed: Photographs of Australian Artists’ was also a cover of Good Weekend magazine and was included in the magazine’s Top Covers for its 30th Anniversary issue. The photo is also in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.

Despite the fact that there have been several subsequent books by other photographers documenting the period, Framed has continued to command high prices on the second hand market.

‘Framed’ prices at more than A$400 a copy!

Prices have been as high as GBP £199 (about A$415) and regularly sit around the A$100-A$200 (see Amazon grab below)  for good, used copies. Not bad for a book which sold, when new, for less than $50!

Framed. Used book prices.

A screen grab of a recent entry from Amazon advertising used copies of ‘Framed’. 

Framed was the product of 10 years work, photographing the great artists of the Australian Post-War period, including Sir Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Lloyd Rees, Donald Friend, Clifton Pugh, Charles Blackman, Robert Klippel, Margaret Olley and John Olsen, just to name a few of the 100 artists represented.

John Olsen portrait by Michel Lawrence

Portrait of John Olsen from the book Framed. Portraits of Australian artists by Michel Lawrence.

‘Framed’: Sell-Out Exhibitions at Australian Galleries in Sydney and Melbourne

Michel Lawrence took the portraits of more than 100 pf Australia’s greatest artists from the period and they were first publicly exhibition at Stuart Purves’ Australian Galleries in Melbourne and Sydney.

The portraits formed a sell-out exhibition and many went to large corporate collectors. For instance, The Museum of Modern Art at Heide acquired more than 30 prints while the regional Castlelmaine Gallery acquired more than 20. A number of private collectors also bought groups of 4 and 6 of the portraits.

John Coburn was an abstract artist best known for his fine prints and tapestries containing religious and spiritual themes. John Coburn was photographed near his home in Pearl Beach by Michel Lawrence.
John Coburn was an abstract artist best known for his fine prints and tapestries containing religious and spiritual themes. John Coburn was photographed near his home in Pearl Beach by Michel Lawrence.

Michel Lawrence’s Lloyd Rees and Good Weekend

The Framed cover photograph of Lloyd Rees was reproduced several million times, first in Harper’s BAZAAR magazine and then as the cover of Good Weekend with a feature written by the Walkley Award-winning journalist Janet Hawley. (Janet also wrote the introduction for the book.)

The photo of Llloyd Rees has been reproduced several more times in Good Weekend since the first issue and was named by the magazine as one of its 30 Best Covers.

The Rees Photograph is also in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery, QAGOMA (Queensland Art Gallery) and several other major institutions.

For more on Lloyd Rees see review for the Brisbane Courier Mail:

http://www.grafico-qld.com/content/lloyd-rees

So why is Framed commanding these high prices? And especially in the UK and US markets where most of the books seem to be sourced?

Good question. Perhaps there is a growing interest in Australia’s golden post-war art period. Perhaps, Framed just captured a time of artistic flowering that has also captured the imagination. But whatever it is, we are grateful that it’s attracting this kind of attention and not sitting on remainder tables!

Michael Johnson portrait by Michel Lawrence

Michael Johnson, the contemporary abstractionist, looking distinctly other worldly, in his backlit Sydney studio. Portrait by Michel Lawrence from the book Framed.