PART 1. HEIDE MUSEUM 0F MODERN ART passes on the curiosity like the old painters did

FROM THE MID 1800 UNTIL 1930, THE SUBURB OF HEIDELBERG, VICTORIA, BECAME THE HOME OF ARTHUR STREETON, TOM ROBERTS, FRED McCUBBIN AND OTHER NAMES OF THE HEIDELBERG SCHOOL OF PAINTING WHO WANTED TO PAINT IN THE LOCAL AREA. IT BECAME ONE OF THEIR FAVOURITE GROUNDS.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

WEEKEND TOGETHERNESS: THE REEDS, JOHN AND SUNDAY, SPEND TIME WITH THEIR DAUGHTER AND CATS. Below: NORMAN LINDSAY (FAR RIGHT) CHALLENGED THE SUPREMANCY OF THE ‘WOWSER’. Below: REED’S COTTAGE, SURROUNDED BY BUSHLAND, IS ONLY FEW MINUTES AWAY FROM WHERE THE HEIDE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART NOW STANDS.

The new painters and many of their followers became a force in the small art world of Australia and they established new art societies which wrested the control of taste from the generation of well-intentioned Victorian gentlemen.

Not just Victorian gentlemen, mind you. From the type of gentlemen who had created the public art galleries of Melbourne and Sydney.

Such men had been nurtured upon the high moral values of John Ruskin and saw art primarily as a moral force in civil society. The new men on the other hand championed the doctrine of art for art’s sake. In the course of their struggle for recognition, however, they gradually became more nationalistic in their outlook.

MORALITY PREDOMINATED

From depicting small sketches full of breeze and sunshine, the Heidelberg painters turned to the heroism of frontier life.

The Meldrum method of tonal realism dominated the practice of portraiture in Australia throughout the 1920s and 30s.

Famous artist Norman Lindsay, a splendid graphic artist, fine writer and a talented watercolour painter, challenged first the supremacy of the “wowser” to determine the course of Australian culture at a time when a puritanical Victorian morality predominated.

The plein-air mode of painting disseminated by the Heidelberg painters and the tonal portraiture of Meldrum faded out in the late 1930s.

A few isolated artists pioneered modern ideas from about 1913.

1930

John Reed and Sunday Quinn meet at a tennis party in Toorak at the home of Sunday’s cousins, the Shackell family. Reed was from Evandale, Tasmania, and Quinn, came from Melbourne. He was born 1901 and she in 1905.

1932

John and Sunday married at St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne on January 13.

1934

In July, the Reeds purchase the Heide property in two lots: two-and-three quarter acres, including the farm-house from the estate of James and Jessie Lang; and just under twelve acres from Alfred Roberts.

The property’s name was Heide, after the nearby township of Heidelberg.

They renovated the house in French provincial style, and planted exotic trees; they establish the first kitchen garden in the district.

1935

The Reeds moved into the farmhouse, Heide 1, and set up a unique private library which included modernist literature, international art books, journals and magazines.

They champion modern art of the day and their social circle comprised avant-garde artists, writers and musicians, notably painters, among whom were Sam Atyeo and Moya Dyring.

1936

Neil Douglas, gardener, conservationist and artist, assisted with the development of the property. At the same time, he encourages the Reeds to establish a self-sufficient lifestyle – with milking cows, chickens, ducks and bee hives to complete the kitchen garden.

Sam Atyeo leaves for Europe.

<< Heidelberg Museum; the critics; Frank Morris.

Next: Reeds friend Max Harris launches a newspaper call Tomorrow.


FLASHBACK: The homecoming of Mark Twain

HIS REAL NAME IS SAM CLEMENS BUT HE WAS BETTER KNOWN BY HIS PEN NAME, MARK TWAIN, AMERICAN AUTHOR AND HUMOURIST.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

Mark Twain defined a classic as a book that people praise but don’t read. Judging from notes scrawled in the 

margins of some recently discovered classics from Twain’s original collection his reading habits were far from cursory.

Though many of the 3500 books in Twain’s personal library were lost in his travels, or eventually sold to collectors, 271 of them – 120 annotated by Twain – surfaced in 1997 in some old wooden barrels at a California auction house.

Among them were the works of Shakespeare, Longfellow and Shelley, as well as provocative novels and French erotica.

LEGENDARY HUMOURIST

The books, consigned in 1951 by Twain’s daughter, Clara, to a buyer, have at last returned to Mark Twain’s old Connecticut stomping grounds. The books were acquired by Mark Twain House, a museum in Hartford where Twain once lived and wrote many of his famous novels.

One of the last specimens of Twain scholarship, the collection reveals new insights into the mind of the legendary humourist.

Because many of the century-old books are fragile, only a handful are on display at the museum. The rest are kept at Trinity College in Hartford where they are available only to scholars. The books are noted for their marginalia; Twain was knows to jot down his critique of a book in its margins.

To some Twain scholars just a few words scrawled in a margin reveal an entire mode of his thinking. In Charles Darwin’s Journal of Researches, for example, Twain wrote, “Can any plausible excuse be furnished for the crime of creating the human race?”

<< Adapted by Frank Morris from The Homecoming of Samuel Clemens, Biblio, November 1997.


Princes of the Fourth Estate: Part 1. The reporters found the pen is mightier than the sword

ANYONE WHO READ THE TERRITORIAL ENTERPRISE OF THE 1860S COULD HAVE TOLD YOU WHICH OF ITS TWO REPORTERS WOULD GO ON TO FAME AND FORTUNE.

DAVID W. TOLL           Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

FLAG FLYING: THE TERRITORIAL ENTERPRISE MASTHEAD WHEN IT TOOK OVER THE VIRGINIA CITY NEWS. IT PROMOTES ITSELF AS “NEVADA’S FIRST NEWSPAPER”. Below: SAM CLEMENS (MARK TWAIN), WHO WAS CARELESS AND ABRASIVE, JOINED THE ENTERPRISE IN 1862. Below: DAN DE QUILLE (WILLIAM WRIGHT) WROTE ARTICLES FOR THE GOLDEN ERA.

The long lost Territorial Enterprise was one of the great newspapers of the frontier west. So brilliant was its history that books have been written about it. One of them was by Comstock Commotion’s Lucius Beebe.

Beebe writes: “The story of the Enterprise in its early years is a story of perfect timing. Almost at the very moment the Goodman and McCarthy assumed complete ownership, it became established that the Comstock’s surface diggings and ores of easily accessible outcroppings were actually the merest superficial traces of incalculable bonanzas which would be available for deep mining.”

The timing, of course, was perfect; but what made the Enterprise a great paper was its staff. The roster of names reads like a Murderer’s Row of frontier western journalists.

Editor Joe Goodman had been the founder of the Golden Era, a popular monthly published in San Francisco during the tumultuous years of the California gold rush.

He was a practical printer, a poet of high reputation, and an accomplished duelist as he demonstrated in 1863. He shot Tom Fitch, who was the editor of the rival Virginia City Union, in the knee.

STRIKE A BLOW

Goodman’s partner, Denis McCarthy, ran the mechanical side of the paper. Later, he published the Virginia Evening Chronicle for many years.

Rollin Daggett, later Congressman, is Goodman’s associate editor and a celebrated writer. Daggett became the United States Minister to King Kalakaua of Hawaii.

“The pen, in his hand, is like a mighty trip-hammer, which is so nicely adjusted that he can, at will, strike a blow which seems like a caress. And the next moment hurl hundred-ton blows, one after another, with the quickness of lightning, and filling … the air around with fire,” said McCarthy.

That was the assessment of Judge C.C Goodwin, when he was Enterprise editor in the1870s. He later edited the Salt Lake Tribune for more than 20 years.

And the local reporters were Mark Twain and Dan De Quille. De Quille, was born William Wright, in Iowa in 1829, had come west in 1857. He left his wife and daughter behind in West Liberty, Iowa, as he his tried his luck in the California gold fields.

ABRASIVE MARK TWAIN

He worked as a miner and wrote articles and sketches for magazines; the Golden Era was one of them. He came to the Comstock in 1860 and settled in Silver City as a prospector. The following years, when Joe Goodman and Denis McCarthy took over the Enterprise, he began sending them correspondence.                   

He was hired as a local reporter in 1861. And Sam Clemens (Mark Twain) joined the staff in the spring of 1862.

“In those early day,” De Quille wrote, “there were in the town many desperate characters and some bloody affrays were of frequent occurrence. Sometime, while a reporter was engaged in gleaning the particulars in regard to some shooting scrape another would start … and the news gatherer suddenly found himself in the midst of flying bullets.

De Quille also recalled that in the early days “the arrival of an emigrant train was still a big event. The train often remained encamped in the suburbs of the town several days before proceeding to California. By that time, all persons were thoroughly pumped.”

<< From The Modern Monthly- Frank Morris.

Next week: “I can never forget my first day’s experience as a reporter,” Mark Twain wrote 10 years later. “Dumfounding days” on Territorial Enterprise.


THE GALLERY: Diane Arbus: Her portraits stand as powerful allegories

FRANK MORRIS

UNSHIFTABLE: ARBUS’S PORTRAITS WERE AMAZING … HER STYLE WAS IN FULL FLIGHT. Below: TWO PEOPLE, WAITING. JUST ONE OF THE ARBUS’S ICONIC IMAGES.

Diane Arbus , the American photographer has, it seems, an unshiftable position in the American portraits scene. There has been comers and goers of people who have delivered amazing portraits but on the whole they seen to have paled alongside Arbus.

Born in 1923, Arbus is one of the standouts in the history of photography. Arbus’s images are unique in every description, and are one of “the powerful allegories” of post-war America.

Talking about the total impact of Arbus’s images, Anne O’Hehir said, “Once seen, are rarely forgotten!”

O’Hehir said works such as Identical twins, Roselle, NJ, l967, Child with toy hand grenade, Central Park, New York City, have been described “as two of the most celebrated images in the history of the medium.”

SOCIETY MARGINS

The Heide exhibition, featuring 35 of Arbus’s most iconic and confrontational images from 1961 to 71, “will examine the last decade of Arbus’s life, the period in which her style is in full flight,” said O’Hehir.

“Her work has polarised viewers who question whether she exploited or empowered her subjects, who were often drawn from society’s margins.”

The programs notes that Arbus’s photographs are exhibited alongside a selection of works by other leading American lens-people who influenced Arbus. These works were shown alongside hers, or have been influenced by her, in the 1960s.

They include the famous images by Lisette Model, Walker Evans and Weegee, her contemporaries Willian Klein, Garry Winogrand, Lee Friedlander and Milton Rogovin, and a slightly younger generation, work by Mary Ellen Mark and Willian Eggleston.

At the Heide Gallery, Heide 111, until June 17, 2018.


Shop Window:  Part 3. Heritage Place - A gift to the Nation!

FRANK MORRIS

In 1987, the historic Pump House was to be restored by the Darling Harbour Authority Australia. The building, also known as the Pier Street Pumping Station, was constructed in 1891. This followed the establishment of the Sydney and Suburban Hydraulic Power Company in 1888.

The Pump, which was to power the extensive hydraulic system which operated lifts, cranes and banks vault door, ceased operation in 1975. Housing the above equipment, it was connected to 50 miles of pipes which ran throughout the city.

MAINTAIN HISTORY

Since then, the building had been unused. The 96-year-old structure, which is the remaining link with the old system of hydraulic power, has an Italianate façade which is highly attractive.

“This is a unique building,” said Laurie Brereton, the State Minister of Public Works. “It combines an historic setting with a prime location minutes away from the waterfront. The applicants will have to maintain the building’s historic atmosphere.”

Nearby is the Power House Museum.

<< Frank Morris used Historic Australia, 1987, as a background to the article.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 04 May 18

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