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1906 - 1994

Hal Missingham was born in Claremont, Western Australia, and first studied art in Perth under J. W. R. Linton from 1922-26. Missingham then trained as a process engraver until he was able to work a passage to Europe in 1926.

He studied art at Academie Julien in Paris and the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London until 1937. He also taught graphic arts subjects at Central School and the Westminster School of Arts from 1933-40, as well as working as a freelance graphic designer from 1935.

Missingham designed posters for the London Transport and General Post Office Departments, the Orient Line and Shell Mex.

Missingham took up photography in 1933 as an aid to his graphic design but was soon working on photo-journalistic assignments, including one for Sphere magazine on the Spanish Civil War in 1936. He returned to Perth in 1940 and held a joint exhibition of work in the documentary spirit with Axel Poignant.

He moved to Sydney in 1941 and did extensive photo-surveys for Pix magazine and the Department of Manpower. He had become interested in naturalist photography and published the first of a number of photographic books, Animal Anthology, in 1942.

Missingham enlisted for war service between 1943 and 1945 and then took up a position as Director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1945.

He continued his photography and was part of the Six Photographers’ group’s exhibition of documentary work in 1955. As well as exhibiting, Missingham contributed forewords to Max Dupain-Photographs in 1948 and Australian Photography 1947 and 1957.

As well, he produced a number of art books and catalogues for the Art Gallery of New South Wales and was active on various art committees.

He was also a founder of the Studio of Realist Artists in 1945. He retired from the Art Gallery of NSW in 1971.

In the 1970s Missingham concentrated on the publication of a number of photographic books beginning with My Australia in 1970, Time-Life and Reader’s Digest books on Australia in 1976-77, Blackboys and Blackgins, 1976, Like a Bower Bird, 1977, Close Focus, 1970 and Design Focus, 1978, most of which are in colour.

Among many awards for his services to art, Missingham received an Order of Australia in 1978. A retrospective exhibition of his black and white work was held at Farmer’s Blaxland Gallery in 1979.

above text based on Gaël Newton's Silver & Grey
Angus and Roberston, Australia 1980

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