From the collection: Rose Seidler House artwork

The Rose Seidler House, Christopher Zanko, 2020, acrylic on wood relief carving. Sydney Living Museums.

On 17 December 1950, the young Austrian-born architect Harry Seidler took 100 invited guests on a tour of his newly completed – and first – Australian commission, a house designed and built for his parents, Rose and Max. Rose Seidler House would become one of the most iconic mid-20th-century domestic dwellings in Australia, and launch Seidler’s long and distinguished career. It was gifted to Sydney Living Museums in 1988 and opened to the public in its original furnished condition.

In December 2020, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the house’s completion, SLM commissioned Illawarra-based artist Christopher Zanko to produce a ‘portrait’ of the house. Zanko’s practice combines printmaking and painting techniques to record modernist suburban homes, celebrating their distinctive aesthetic and atmosphere.

Zanko’s portrait captures the play of negative and positive space to accentuate the sculptural form of the house within its landscape setting. By applying paint to the woodblock, Zanko reverses the traditional woodcut technique and instead creates tactile, three-dimensional works that invite closer inspection. The work honours the presence of the house and its dignified bearing, and is a fitting tribute to this unique house from a rising figure in contemporary Australian art.

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Mel Flyte

Mel Flyte

Collections Discovery Assistant, Caroline Simpson Library

Growing up in rural NSW, Mel’s childhood was spent undertaking her own archaeological excavations in the creek bed on her family’s property. Old bottles, cow bones, and the occasional piece of rusty farm equipment were all considered exciting discoveries. School holidays were punctuated with long car trips with her mum to see blockbuster exhibitions in Canberra and Sydney, so galleries and museums always felt familiar. Studies in archaeology and art history have inspired a passion for objects and their ability to elicit emotions and tell stories. Mel curated the exhibtion On The Move and relishes the opportunity to get hands-on with the treasures in our collections.

Conserving Harry Seidler’s sofa 

A sofa Harry Seidler designed for Rose Seidler House was conserved and reupholstered, and the process revealed some unexpected findings

Eulogy Harry Seidler AC OBE 1923-2006

This is an edited version of a eulogy given by Peter Watts at Harry Seidler's Memorial Service at the Theatre Royal, Sydney, 6 April 2006

Cook & Curator

Translating tastes: the Rose Seidler recipe collection

Recently translated from the original German, recipes kept by Rose Seidler provide valuable insight into her culinary heritage and Austrian identity

Page from photograph album: Julian Rose house, 67 Clissold Road Turramurra, 1952-1956 : designed by Harry Seidler 1949/1950

The Julian Rose house

A family photo album donated to the Caroline Simpson Library, documents the construction of an architectural icon – the Julian Rose house, designed by architect Harry Seidler in 1951