Modern Love The Lives of John & Sunday Reed

19 September 2015 10 April 2016
Heide Cottage
Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan
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Accompanying the launch of a new biography of the same title, this exhibition celebrates the achievements of Heide founders John and Sunday Reed, champions of modernism and catalysts for successive generations of Australian artists and writers.

John and Sunday met in 1930, and shared a passion for art, literature, nature and innovation. John came from an affluent grazier family in Tasmania, reading law at Cambridge and travelling extensively before he settled in Melbourne to work as a solicitor. Sunday was an heiress, born into the Baillieu dynasty. After a disastrous first marriage and expatriate life in England and France she returned home, her encounter with John marking the beginning of a new bohemian existence.

Rejecting their advantaged social backgrounds, the Reeds purchased Heide in 1934 and established an alternative and self-sufficient lifestyle. They opened their home to an experimental artistic, literary and musical milieu, attracting people with similarly libertarian attitudes and a desire to instigate cultural change. Heide became a gathering point for avant-garde figures such as Sam Atyeo, Moya Dyring, Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, Joy Hester, Max Harris, Arthur Boyd, John Perceval, Charles Blackman, Mirka Mora and Mike Brown. Together with the Reeds, they paved the way for a new creative landscape, the flowering of which saw the rise of the Contemporary Art Society, Reed & Harris publishing and Angry Penguins magazine, and the Museum of Modern Art of Australia.

John and Sunday had a remarkable partnership that endured many challenges and affected all those who crossed the threshold of Heide. Their unremitting support of progressive art and close relationships with many major Australian artists is reflected in their personal collection, highlights of which are exhibited here, complemented by family heirlooms, archival photographs, and personal memorabilia.

Modern Love: The Lives of John and Sunday Reed

This stunning double biography lifts the veil on the unconventional marriage of modernist pioneers John and Sunday Reed, and their relationships with some of Australia's most celebrated artists and writers.

By Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan

Authors of Sunday’s Kitchen (2010) and Sunday’s Garden (2012)

Paperback $45.00

Published by Miegunyah Press, an imprint of Melbourne University Publishing, in partnership with Heide Museum of Modern Art and the State Library of Victoria.

Available at the Heide Store

In the news

The Heide art movement
ABC24, Australia Wide Ep. 32, 7 November 2015

John and Sunday Reed: Modern Love a drama in five acts
The Weekend Australian, Review, 7-8 November 2015

What really happened at Heide? Book reveals tangled lives of famous art circle
The Age, Spectrum, 19 September 2015

Heide founders John and Sunday Reed's love entanglements revealed in new book
The Age, 19 September 2015

Modern Love - the Reeds of Heide
Radio National, Blueprint for Living, 26 September 2015

Wild Things: The Lives and Loves of John and Sunday Reed
Book talk at the The Wheeler Centre, 15 February 2016

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