The Heide Circle was a loose grouping of Australian artists who lived and worked at "Heide", a former dairy farm on the Yarra River floodplain at Bulleen, a suburb of Melbourne, counting amongst their number many of Australia's best-known modernist painters.
Heide was purchased in 1934 by John and Sunday Reed, passionate supporters and collectors of Australian art and culture. Amongst other activities, John Reed published the modernist literary magazine Angry Penguins, which earned its place in Australia's cultural history with the notorious Ern Malley hoax in 1943.
A number of modernist artists came to live and work at various times through the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s at Heide, and as such it became the place where many of the most famous works of the period were painted. Albert Tucker, Sidney Nolan, Danila Vassilieff and Joy Hester, amongst 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. Sunday Reed conducted affairs with a number of them, with the knowledge of her husband.
David Rainey’s 2014 play The Ménage at Soria Moria is a fictitious performance piece exploring the relationship between the Reeds and Sidney Nolan – both the heady days at Heide during the 1940s, and the less well known degeneration over the next 35 years.
The Heide Circle continued in their commitment to Figurative Modernism through the 1950s and 1960s, with several of the artists forming the Antipodeans Group and taking a stand against the new abstract art.
Heide is located very close to Heidelberg, the area associated with a famous earlier Melbourne art movement, the Heidelberg School. The north-eastern fringes of Melbourne, particularly further out at Eltham, retain a close association with the visual arts.
- "The Ménage at Soria Moria". aCOMMENT. Retrieved 2015-03-13.