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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.

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:


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.


Sir Sidney Nolan showingnhis playful side with a Ned Kelly mask.

Sid Nolan Framed

Michel Lawrence’s portrait of Sid Nolan as Ned Kelly is just one of 100 of Australia’s most prominent painters, sculptors and print-makers photographed over a ten-year period from the mid-1980s until the mid-1990s.

The photographs were exhibited at Australian Galleries Melbourne and Sydney and published as Framed-Portraits of Australian Painters published by Hardie Grant. The book is now out of print but can be found sometimes on Ebay.

Framed-Portraits of Australian Artists by Michel Lawrence

Elwyn Lynn, The Weekend Australian’s art critic wrote:

“You can have wonderful fun, whether you want to treat these photographs as slightly satirical or evidence for the analyst.”

In a review of the book Framed, Richard Guilliatt writing in Good Weekend recalled:” …Nolan was stiff and unresponsive until the photographer pulled out a prop for him to pose with- a cardboard cutout that resembled the Ned Kelly masks of Nolan’s famous paintings.”

And the leading Australian art historian, art critic and curator who has published some twenty books and over two thousand articles, Emeritus Professor Sasha Grishin of the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences wrote in his Canberra Times review: “… at his best, Lawrence is a great photographer.”

The photographs are in numerous private and public collections including the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, The National Library, The Museum of Modern Art at Heide, The Queensland Art Gallery, Melbourne University, numerous regional galleries and a number of private collections.

Above: Portrait of  Sid Nolan- photographed by Michel Lawrence enjoying himself as Ned Kelly. This photo is in a number of public and private collections most notably at The Museum of Modern Art at Heide, which is where of course, Nolan painted his ground breaking Kelly series.

You can view Michel Lawrence’s photo of Lloyd Rees at the National Portrait Gallery

Arthur-Boyd-Back-to-Camera-800x800Michel Lawrence photographed Arthur Boyd at Shoalhaven, looking towards the river.

Donald-Frienmd-portraiot-by-Michel-Lawrence-from-the-book-Framed.This portrait of Donald Friend was featured in the Donald Friend Retrospective at The Art Gallery of New South Wales and was also the featured portrait in the book, Donald Friend by Barry Pearce,

David-Larwill-portrait-by-Michel-Lawrence-from-the-bvook-FramedDavid Larwill in his studio.