Sunday Reed

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Sunday Reed
Sunday Reed.jpg
Portrait of Sunday Reed by Moya Dyring about 1934
Born Lelda Sunday Baillieu
15 October 1905
Died 15 December 1981
Occupation Art collector and patron
Spouse(s) John Reed
Children Sweeney Reed (adopted)

Sunday Reed (born Lelda Sunday Baillieu) (15 October 1905 – 15 December 1981) was notable for supporting and collecting Australian art with her husband John Reed.

Personal history[edit]

Born on a Sunday, Sunday Reed was the daughter of Arthur Sydney Baillieu (1872–1943) and his wife, Ethel Mary née Ham (1875–1932). Her parents had married in 1899 and had three other children.[1][2] She was a member of Melbourne's Baillieu family — the niece of William Baillieu, one of Australia's richest men. She grew up in Toorak and Sorrento. Mostly educated at home, she also attended St Catherine's School, Toorak.

She married an Irish-American Catholic, Leonard Quinn, on 31 December 1926. The marriage lasted three years. She married John Reed on 13 January 1932.[3]

In the 1930s, Sunday studied art under George Bell in his Bourke Street Studio School in Melbourne. Her only remaining work is a landscape drawing, showing her skill with colour and form.[4]

In 1934, the Reeds purchased a former dairy farm on the Yarra River at Bulleen, a suburb of Melbourne, which became known as Heide. The Reeds lived on the property until their deaths in 1981, a short time after the property became the Heide Museum of Modern Art, still popularly known as Heide.

John Reed died on 5 December 1981. Sunday Reed died ten days later, on 15 December.[5]

Sunday Reed was the aunt of Ted Baillieu, who in 2010 became Premier of Victoria.[6]

Patron of the arts[edit]

A number of modernist artists came to live and work at Heide at various times during the 1930s, 40s and 50s, and it became the place where many of the most famous works of the period were painted. These artists were known as the Heide Circle and included Sam Atyeo and his wife Moya Dyring, Albert Tucker, Sidney Nolan, Joy Hester, who marked Albert Tucker in 1941, John Perceval, Laurence Hope among others, all worked at Heide. Nolan painting his famous series of Ned Kelly works in the living room there.

The Heide Circle is well known for the intertwined personal and professional lives of the people involved. Sam Atyeo had an affair with Sunday and his wife Moya Dyring had an affair with John.[4] Art historian Janine Burke has suggested that Sunday and Nolan had a close collaborative and inspiring relationship. She writes that Sunday helped Nolan to find his artistic voice and in the process she developed from being a studio assistant to painting sections of the works, in particular the red and white squares in The Trial. "The Kellys are Sunday and Nolan's swansong," Burke writes, "the last brilliant burst of their creative duet." Burke's evidence is convincing because she discovered, in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art at Heide, a small watercolour by Nolan, dedicated to Sunday, that reads, "For the one who paints such beautiful squares" (c.1946–1947). Kendrah Morgan, curator at Heide MoMA, recently confirmed Burke's thesis in the programme Can We Help? (ABCTV, July 2009).

Nolan left the famous 1946–47 series of 27 Ned Kelly pictures at Heide, when he left it in emotionally-charged circumstances. Although he once wrote to Sunday Reed to tell her to take what she wanted, he subsequently demanded all his works back. Sunday Reed returned 284 other paintings and drawings to Nolan, but she refused to give up the 25 remaining Kellys, partly because she saw the works as fundamental to the proposed Heide Museum of Modern Art.[7] She gave them to the National Gallery of Australia in 1977, which resolved the dispute.

In the 1950s, Heide was once again the centre of a brilliant circle of younger artists and poets. Friends from that period include Charles Blackman, Robert Dickerson, Judith Wright, Barrett Reid, Charles Osborne, Laurence Hope and Nadine Amadio. Sunday was the first person to extensively buy Blackman's work. In the 1960s, Sweeney Reed, Joy Hester's son, whom Sunday and John had adopted, was a young gallery director. He invited his circle of artist and poet friends to Heide who included Les Kossatz, Allan Mitelman, Shelton Lea and Russell Deeble.

Kidman family namesake[edit]

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban named their daughter, Sunday Rose, born in 2008, after Reed. Dr Antony Kidman, Ms Kidman's father, suggested the name. New Idea, July, 2008, p.13. | July 9, 2008 ABC News

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Brighton Cemetery Records
  2. ^ Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition, 2 volumes (Crans, Switzerland: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 1999), volume 1, page 167.
  3. ^ Burke, Janine (January 2004). The Heart Garden: Sunday Reed and Heide. Milsons Point, New South Wales: Random House. ISBN 1-74051-202-2. 
  4. ^ a b Wyndham, Susan (2004-10-02). "Creative heart". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
  5. ^ Creative heart, 20 October 2004
  6. ^ The Age, 19 August 2008
  7. ^ Burke, 350