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Impressionist Lab And Art Gallery Proposed For Heildeberg Yarra River Site.

October 24, 2013 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

A centre that focuses on the Australian Impressionists and the environment has been included in a Parks Victoria concept plan for the development of the Yarra Flats in Heidelberg.Former Banyule City Council CEO and Heidelberg School of Art Foundation Director, Doug Owens, says the proposed Impressionist Lab and Art Gallery, on the corner of Banksia St and The Boulevard, will create a new type of educational, art and environmental centre.

He says Banyule Council, which is leading the partnership with Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water and the Heidelberg School Arts Foundation, has allocated another $130000 to the project with a future commitment of one million dollars.

Discussions with the new Federal Government were about to begin. They follow ongoing talks with the State Government, Corporate and Philanthropic sectors.

Former National Gallery of Victoria Director, Dr. Gerard Vaughan, says the proposed Impressionist Lab and Art Gallery has the capacity to be a major educational  and tourist draw card.

“It will bring together traditional curatorial approaches and contemporary issues around the challenges to the environment.”

Dr. Vaughan was speaking to an audience of 270 celebrating the165th anniversary of the Old England Hotel in Heidelberg this morning.

The Old England Hotel was a watering hole for the Australian Impressionists – like Arthur Streeton and Tom Roberts – who lived and painted in the Heidelberg area in the late 1880s and early 1890s.

Dr. Vaughan said the Impressionists had revolutionised art around the world and, in Australia, their works created a defining moment in Australian art.

The Australian Impressionists, or Heidelberg painters, are credited with creating the first Australian school of art. Their open-air work captured the light, colours and character of Australia, which had previously been seen through a more European lens.

Dr. Vaughan said the proposed Impressionist Lab could be a starting point for a journey through a series of museums – including Heide Museum of Modern Art and Tarrawarra – up the Yarra Valley.

Eminent historian, Professor Geoffrey Blainey, told today’s breakfast that the Yarra Valley was “not only special in the history of Australian art, but in the history of people.”

The Australian Impressionists who painted in Heidelberg and beyond were “making a revolutionary statement through their art.”

Professor Blainey said “it was the painters, much more than the writers, who taught us how to see Australia with new eyes and new affection.”

However it took a while for public taste to catch up with the artists’ view: it wasn’t until 1920 that the National Gallery of Victoria bought a Tom Roberts painting.

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