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Harry Seidler: Painting Toward Architecture

Sydney Living Museums presents a major new exhibition on the life and work of renowned architect Harry Seidler.

Harry Seidler: Painting Toward Architecture

Above: Penelope Seidler at the Killara House, 1967. Courtesy and © Penelope Seidler.

‘Architecture is and always was above all, an art form, and that an interrelation and interdependence exists between all the visual arts.’ Harry Seidler

Harry Seidler: Painting Toward Architecture explores the architect’s trailblazing and often controversial career, his groundbreaking office towers, houses, apartments and public buildings, and his passion for art, architecture and engineering. It traces the nearly nine decades of Harry’s life, revealing where world events shaped his personality and his total dedication to the cause of modernism, and will feature paintings, sculpture, albums, photographs, scrapbooks, films, sketches, original drawings, diaries and personal correspondence from Harry and his wife Penelope Seidler’s private collection.

Curated by New York based curator Vladimir Belogolovsky of Intercontinental Curatorial Project and Sydney Living Museums’ Dr Caroline Butler-Bowdon, the exhibition showcases Seidler’s creative achievements and fascinating life, following his wartime journey from motherland Austria to England, Canada, the United States, Brazil and, finally, Australia, where he settled in 1948, eventually becoming recognised as one of the country’s most distinguished architects.

Above: Australia Square Tower, with Crossed Blades by Alexander Calder in foreground, Max Dupain, 1968. Max Dupain & Associates. State Library of NSW: 7987-16 © Penelope Seidler.

The exhibition focuses on Seidler’s long-lasting connections and collaborations with many of the 20th century’s major creative visionaries across art, architecture and engineering, including: architects Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and Oscar Niemeyer; artists Josef Albers, Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Sol LeWitt and Lin Utzon; engineer Pier Luigi Nervi; developer Dick Dusseldorp; and photographer Max Dupain.

“Harry drew his inspiration from a multitude of sources – architecture, painting, sculpture, technology, geometry, history, and so on,” says curator Vladimir Belogolovsky. His collaborative approach was multidimensional and consequential, always striving for logic, the highest quality of construction, and, of course, beauty. Step into the exhibition and you will find yourself inside Harry’s creative world; it is like being inside of a painting, painting toward architecture.”

The exhibition highlights many of the more than 160 projects Harry worked on during his prolific career, including Australia Square, Sydney’s first really serious skyscraper; Rose Seidler House, his first commission in Australia; the Harry & Penelope Seidler House in Killara, the Seidler family home; and the Australian Embassy in Paris.

Sydney Living Museums

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