Heide Museum of Modern Art
Heide I, a former farmhouse and one of the museum's exhibition spaces, dedicated to displays from the Collection and Archive.
|Type||Modern & Contemporary art museum,
Historic site, Sculpture park
|Public transit access||Route 903 SmartBus from Heidelberg Station|
Heide Museum of Modern Art, or Heide as it is affectionately known, is a State-owned public museum and gallery museum located in Bulleen, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. Established in 1981, the museum comprises three distinct exhibition buildings set within sixteen acres of heritage gardens and a sculpture park. Two domestic buildings of historical importance, and an additional purpose-built gallery, are used to exhibit works by twentieth- and twenty-first-century artists. Heide is unique within the context of Melbourne’s cultural sector as it brings together modern and contemporary art, gardens and architecture, as well as a rich social and artistic history.
The museum occupies the site of a former dairy farm that was purchased by the prominent Melbourne art benefactors John and Sunday Reed in 1934 and became the gathering place for a collective known as the Heide Circle, which included many of Australia's best-known modernist painters, including Albert Tucker, Sidney Nolan, Joy Hester, who often stayed in the former farmhouse, now known as Heide I.
Between 1964 and 1967, the Reeds built a new residence, Heide II, which is considered to be one of the finest examples of modernist architecture in Victoria. In 1980, the Reeds sold Heide II, most of the adjoining property and significant works from their art collection to the Victorian State Government after several years of negotiations for the creation of a public art gallery and park. The Heide Collection has since expanded through many individual gifts as well as four significant collections—the Museum of Modern Art and Design Collection, the Baillieu Myer Collection of the 80s, the Barrett Reid Collection, and most recently, the Albert Tucker Gift donated by Barbara Tucker.
in 1993 a new gallery building was added to the Heide complex, designed by Andrew Andersons from Peddle Thorp Architects. When the museum underwent major redevelopment in 2005–06, significant extensions were made to this building by O'Connor + Houle Architecture. Also during this period the Sidney Myer Education Centre was built, Heide II and the surrounding gardens were restored, and new facilities were constructed: the Sir Rupert Hamer Memorial Garden, the Tony and Cathie Hancy Sculpture plaza and the Federation Way Car Park.
In 2009 Chris Connell Design and McCorkell Construction completed the new Heide Cafe, currently occupied by Cafe Vue. This completed the capital works expansion and building upgrades at Heide.
The current Director and CEO of Heide is Dr Natasha Cica.
The museum is situated on land originally used by indigenous peoples, a history evident in a distinguished scarred tree at the top of the property, called Yingabeal. In late colonial times through to the early twentieth century the site was a grazing property and dairy farm with a frontage on the Yarra River. The original farmhouse was built in the 1880s-1890s. From the nineteenth century on, the area was frequented by artists and writers who found the Yarra River and surrounding hills east of Melbourne an ideal setting in which to work, exemplified in the formation of the Heidelberg School at Heidelberg, Montsalvat in Eltham and various artist camps in locations such as Box Hill and Warrandyte.
In 1934, the farm was purchased by John and Sunday Reed, passionate supporters and collectors of modern Australian art, who named the property Heide after the nearby town of Heidelberg. After moving into the farmhouse in 1935, they established a unique private library, including modernist literature, international art books, journals and magazines. Heide became a focal point for progressive art and culture as the Reeds opened their home to like-minded individuals such as artists Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, Joy Hester, John Perceval and Danila Vassilieff. Nolan, who lived at Heide intermittently for almost a decade, painted his celebrated Ned Kelly series in the dining room in 1946–47.
In 1963, the Reeds commissioned Melbourne architect David McGlashan to design a new residence on the property, one that had a sense of mystery and romance, and was "a gallery to be lived in". Synthesising local and international design ideas, the light-filled home they called Heide II was constructed out of Mount Gambier limestone with a palette of minimal secondary materials and neutral colours. The Reeds moved into Heide II in 1967 and Sunday Reed established the second kitchen garden near the new house. .
The Reeds returned to live in Heide I, the old farmhouse after selling Heide II, most of the adjoining property and a significant portion of their art collection (113 works) to the Victorian State Government in August 1980. The purchase was agreed to and formalised by the Minister for the Arts at the time, the Hon. Norman Lacy, who continued to provide the Government's on-going support for the creation of a public art gallery on the site, to be named 'Heide Park and Art Gallery'. The interior of Heide II was modified in preparation of it opening as a public art gallery in November 1981. Now Heide Museum of Modern Art operates as a non-profit company limited by guarantee, and on behalf of the Victorian Government, a Board of Directors is delegated as a Committee of Management.
Dr Norman Wettenhall was appointed the first Chairman and the then Premier of Victoria, Sir Rupert Hamer was honoured as the inaugural Patron. Maudie Palmer AO was appointed the inaugural Director.
The museum underwent major redevelopment in 2005–06 which included the installation of several sculptural and installation art pieces, landscaping and redesign of the gardens, construction of a new education centre & gallery space, extension of the Heide III building to incorporate works from the Barbara Tucker Gift and various other works. On 13 July 2006 the museum officially re-opened after its $3 million dollar renovation and extension. The new buildings were designed by O'Connor + Houle Architecture.
Buildings, features, and layout
Heide is situated on a former floodplain of the Yarra River in Bulleen. It is bordered to the north-east and east by the Yarra Valley Country Club, to the west and south by Banksia Park, and to the south-east by Templestowe Road. The site borders the Yarra River, at Fannings Bend, in its north-west corner. The museum itself comprises several detached buildings and surrounding gardens and parklands on the site, described in further detail below, all of which are used in various capacities as exhibition spaces.
Buildings and facilities
- Heide I - built c.1870, renovated 1934–35, 1954, 1980, restored 2001, 2010
- A former farmhouse, the building was purchased by the Reeds in 1934 and renovated in the French provincial style. It underwent various renovations in 1934–35, 1954 and 1980 and was restored in 2001 and in 2010. Currently it is dedicated to exhibitions and displays from the Heide Collection and Archive.
- Heide II - commissioned by John and Sunday Reed 1963, designed 1964, constructed 1964–67
- Designed by Melbourne architect David McGlashan of McGlashan Everist, it was intended as "a gallery to be lived in" and served as the Reeds' residence between 1967 and 1980. The building is considered one of the best examples of modernist architecture in Victoria and awarded the Royal Institute of Architects (Victorian Chapter) Bronze Medal - the highest award for residential architecture in the State - in 1968. It is currently used to display works from the Heide Collection and on occasion projects by contemporary artists.
- Heide III - built 1993, extended 2005
- Originally designed by Andrew Andersons of Peddle Thorp Architects and later extended by O'Connor + Houle to include additional exhibition spaces, storage facilities and visitor amenities. It is the largest gallery wing of the museum including: the Central Galleries; the Albert & Barbara Tucker Gallery, the Kerry Gardner & Andrew Myer Project Gallery; the Tucker Study Centre; and the Heide Store.
- Sidney Myer Education Centre - built 2005
- Designed by O’Connor + Houle Architecture, its purpose is expressed as "a dynamic learning and thinking space for teachers, students, and community groups." The centre accommodates diverse education and public programs based on the art, architecture and gardens of Heide.
- Heide Cafe - redeveloped 2009
After a 19-month redevelopment program the cafe at reopened to the public on 24 November 2009. The $1.5 million redevelopment was designed by Chris Connell Design (CCD). Inspired by the award-winning architecture of Heide and its beautiful gardens, Situated in the former Heide II motor court, the café’s glass pavilion seats 55 patrons inside and an outdoor area seats an additional 55 patrons.
Gardens and Sculpture Park
The sixteen acres of landscape at Heide have been developed over several decades in tandem with its art and architecture. When John and Sunday Reed purchased Heide in 1934, it was a neglected former dairy farm. They immediately set about reviving and extending the productive kitchen garden adjacent to the original farmhouse and initiated a major planting program, with a view to turning the property into a verdant parkland. Today, the cultivated landscape includes a sculpture park with over forty sculptures, several of the original gardens which are now heritage-listed, an Indigenous Remnant Conservation Zone and a diverse range of exotic trees, unusual roses, herbs, flowers and vegetables.
Some notable works in the sculpture park include:
- Cows, Jeff Thomson, 1987
- In The Presence Of Form II, Anish Kapoor, 1993
- Running Man, Rick Amor, 1996–2003
- Theoretical Matter, Neil Taylor, 1999–2000
- Rings of Saturn, Inge King, 2005–06
- A Native Rockery Garden, Fiona Hall, 2009
- Crescent House, Andrew Burns, 2013
- Fountain, Hany Armanious, 2012
- Heide I, II and III: Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00am–5:00pm
- Heide Store (in Heide III): Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00am–5:00pm
- Gardens & Sculpture Park – FREE
The Heide Collection
The core of the museum's collection was assembled over five decades by Heide founders John and Sunday Reed, who collected a broad range of art from the 1940s to the 1970s, both expressionist and abstract. The collection includes works by artists such as Moya Dyring, Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, Joy Hester, John Perceval, Arthur Boyd, Charles Blackman, Peter Booth, Mike Brown, Richard Larter, Wolfgang Sievers, Sweeney Reed, Sam Atyeo and Jenny Watson. It has since expanded through many individual gifts as well as four significant donations — the Museum of Modern Art and Design Collection, the Baillieu Myer Collection of the 80s, the Barrett Reid Collection, and most recently, the Barbara Tucker Gift. Heide continues to add to its collection with work by contemporary Australian artists, with either donated funds or generous gifts. Heide also holds an extensive support collection of artefacts, ephemera and archives relating to the history of Heide as the domestic residence of John and Sunday Reed and as a public institution, and to the artists and art works represented in the Collection, for example Mike Brown, Albert Tucker, Erica McGilchrist, Joy Hester & Gray Smith, and Danila Vassilieff.
Publications and Media
Heide's history, museum and gardens have featured in many Australian television programs and films, including:
- The courtyard of Heide III was the setting for an art school graduation in Very Small Business, ABC TV series, 2008
- The museum's gardens were featured in an episode of Gardening Australia in 2007 and 2011.
- The Heide I kitchen garden and publication Sunday's Garden was featured in an episode of Postcards in 2012.
- The sculpture park was the setting for a yoga retreat in Winners and Losers, Channel 7 TV series, 2012.
- The story of Heide was featured in episode two of the landmark three-part series The Art of Australia with Edmond Capon in 2013.
- Australian Eye, The series 4 (52 mins, 1981), dir: David Muir, Screen Australia, Part 4 on the 'expressionist eye
- The Good Looker (57 mins 20 secs; 1995), dir: Claire Jager (on Joy Hester)
- Mask and memory: Sidney Nolan (54 mins 2009), dir: Catherine Hunter (on Sidney Nolan)
The Heide story has provided enduring subject matter for both historical and fictional l literature:
- Janine Burke, Dear Sun, Vintage Australia, Melbourne, ISBN 9781740510967
- Janine Burke (2005), The Heart Garden, Vintage Australia, ISBN 9781740513302
- Alex Miller (2011), Autumn Laing, Allen and Unwin, Melbourne ISBN 9781742378510 (the eponymous heroine of Alex Miller’s new nove is based on Sunday Reed)
- Emily Bitto (2015), The Strays, Affirm Press, Melbourne, ISBN 9781925344202 (novel based the myths and narratives associated with Heide)
- Lesley Harding & Kendrah Morgan (2011) Sunday's Kitchen, The Miegunyah Press, an imprint of Melbourne University Publishing, in association with Heide Museum of Modern Art & the State Library of Victoria. ISBN 9780522858532
- Lesley Harding & Kendrah Morgan (2013) Sunday's Garden, The Miegunyah Press, an imprint of Melbourne University Publishing, in association with Heide Museum of Modern Art & the State Library of Victoria, Melbourne. ISBN 9780522864076
- Lesley Harding & Kendrah Morgan (2015) Modern love: the lives of John & Sunday Reed, The Miegunyah Press, an imprint of Melbourne University Publishing, in association with Heide Museum of Modern Art & the State Library of Victoria, Melbourne. ISBN 9780522862812
- Art of Australia
- National Gallery of Victoria
- National Gallery of Australia
- Heidelberg School
- Box Hill artists' camp
- Heide Circle
- Heide Annual Report 2007
- Heide Museum of Modern Art Website
- Freegard, J. 14 July 2006.$3 million for the heart of art, Herald Sun