The Heide Collection
Sidney Nolan: Search for Paradise installation view, 2016, photograph: Clytie Meredith
The core of the Heide Collection comprises 500 artworks assembled from the 1930s to the 1970s by the museum’s founders, John and Sunday Reed. The Reeds supported innovative contemporary art of the day and the artists they first championed are now regarded as central figures in the history of Australian modernism—particularly Arthur Boyd, Joy Hester, Sidney Nolan, John Perceval, Albert Tucker and Danila Vassilieff, a group known as the Heide Circle or Angry Penguins.
In the 1950s and 60s the Reeds collected the work of progressive newcomers such as Charles Blackman, Mike Brown, Mirka Mora and Fred Williams. During the following decade they focused on the work of a younger generation of artists including Sydney Ball, Col Jordan and Les Kossatz, contemporaries of their adopted son Sweeney Reed, whose text-based works in the Heide Collection have been subsequently augmented by substantial holdings of concrete poetry.
Since the museum opened in 1981 the Collection has expanded through numerous 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 Bequest, and most recently, the Albert Tucker Gift. Through such donations the Collection now represents many leading contemporary Australian artists. Heide also has one of the largest collections of outdoor sculpture in Australia, including major works by Anthony Caro, Simryn Gill, Anish Kapoor and Inge King.