Making History: Charles Blackman

Charles Blackman, Girl with Flowers 1956The work of Charles Blackman is celebrated as part of an ongoing series drawn from the collection and archives of Heide Museum of Modern Art.

Making History: Charles Blackman focuses on a key figure in both Australian art and Heide history, an artist renowned for his inventive lyricism. On display in Heide I, the original farmhouse home of John and Sunday Reed, this is the second exhibition in a new series that draws from the museum’s collection and archives, and highlights the influential role of the Reeds in the development of modern art and culture over the course of five decades from the 1930s.

As a young painter Charles Blackman gained the support of John and Sunday Reed in the early 1950s and they were among the first collectors of his work. He and Sunday shared a passion for poetry and French literature which informed much of his imagery, and life at Heide provided some of the source material for his remarkable Alice in Wonderland series.

The paintings, works on paper and sculpture in this exhibition trace Blackman’s creative evolution through a number of his signature subjects and motifs – from Alice’s surreal adventures to the realms of loneliness, the feminine psyche and childhood, as well as the antics of cats.

The selection serves as a rich complement to a major exhibition of Blackman’s compelling Schoolgirls paintings, also curated by Kendrah Morgan and commencing 4 March 2017 in Heide’s main gallery, showcasing one of the artist’s most iconic themes.

A number of the artworks displayed in Making History: Charles Blackman were originally in John and Sunday Reed’s personal collection. Others pay tribute to the Reeds’ friendship with the artist, including works donated later to the museum by Blackman himself. The exhibition also includes a fascinating range of original archival material from the Charles Blackman papers, a significant donation made by the artist in 2013.

Making History: Charles Blackman
Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen
Exhibition continues to 21 May 2017
Admission fees apply

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Image: Charles Blackman, Girl with Flowers 1956. oil on paper on composition board 99.5 x 136.5cm. Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne. Bequest of John and Sunday Reed 1982 (c) Charles Blackman