Various Artists
16 March 10 October 2010
Heide Cottage
Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan
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This exhibition takes a behind-the-scenes look at life at Heide, the home and personal Eden of two of Australia’s most significant art benefactors, John and Sunday Reed, and the celebrated haven for artists and writers associated with Melbourne’s nascent modernist movement.

Settling on the fifteen-acre property in 1935, the Reeds transformed it from a treeless, run-down dairy farm into a productive garden and fertile creative space. They extended their hospitality and resources to now-famous artists such as Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, Joy Hester and Charles Blackman, helping inspire a spirited and ambitious period of cultural achievement that has become integral to the history of art in Australia. Heide was, however, much more than the sum of its artistic parts—it was a creative accomplishment in itself.

The Reeds designed Heide as a self-contained realm with an emphasis on holistic, sustainable living. It was important to them that ‘ideological values were reflected in everyday matters’. Though both John and Sunday came from privileged backgrounds the house itself was very deliberately anti-establishment, with a clear sense of home as a sacred space. The cultivation of the grounds was inspired by Sunday’s experiences of the south of France, where the ‘return to the earth’ ethos, kitchen gardens and ornamental displays of lavender, roses and herbaceous borders guided daily routine and offered both nourishment and sensual pleasure.