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Keepers Of The Flame - The Legacy of Murch and Miksevicius


  • Manly Art Gallery & Museum 1 West Esplanade Manly, NSW, 2095 Australia (map)

‘Keepers of The Flame’ - cherishing the art of Arthur Murch and Jurgis Miksevicius

Image: Arthur Murch, Avalon studio, 1987. Photo by Chris Duczynski

Image: Arthur Murch, Avalon studio, 1987. Photo by Chris Duczynski

Manly Art Gallery & Museum is to host a joint exhibition featuring the works of two of the most important figures in Australian art over the last 100 years.

The exhibition will be open 10am - 5pm Tuesday to Sunday, from May 3 to June 9.
Entry is free.

Arthur Murch (1902-1989) is among the most recognised Australian painters of the 20th Century and Jurgis Miksevicius (1923-2014) is an unsung hero of art who intentionally withdrew from the art world.

‘Keepers of The Flame: The Legacy of Murch & Miksevicius’ explores their art through the eyes of their daughters Michelle Murch and Carolyn Leigh, who manage their fathers’ archives and artworks.

MAGAM Senior Curator Katherine Roberts said the “exhibition is an absorbing - and at times emotional - voyage through the practicalities of managing the artistic legacies of their artist-fathers”.

“The artists’ daughters are bound to the artworks through love, respect and duty.

“Central to this exhibition are the personal and compelling stories told about these two fascinating artists by their daughters.

“The stories are conveyed through a carefully curated selection of drawings, paintings, photographs, memorabilia and a specially commissioned documentary film.”

Arthur Murch was born in Sydney, studied under Antonio Dattilo Rubbo and Rayner Hoff and worked with George Lambert.

A prolific painter, sculptor, designer and teacher, Murch experimented with many styles and materials.

This exhibition features his portrait of Bonar Dunlop which won the Archibald Prize in 1949, his iconic figure study ‘Leda and the Swan’ (1960) and the pointillist masterpiece ‘Fisherman’s Daughter’ (1950).

Jurgis Miksevicius (1923-2014) was a Lithuanian émigré to Australia, arriving here as a refugee in 1948.

His family had fled initially to Germany to escape the Soviet invasion of Lithuania at the end of World War Two. He studied Architecture and Fine Arts in Darmstadt, Germany.

His artistic roots were in European art and Bauhaus principles which formed the foundation of his practice as an artist in Australia and a career spanning across seven decades.

Miksevicius’ work is represented in the National Gallery of Australia, the Lithuanian Art Museum and national and international private collections.

Despite years of sustained involvement within the Australian art scene, Miksevicius chose to withdraw from this sphere in the early 1960s.

One consequence of this was that Miksevicius never received the recognition his worth deserved.

‘Keepers of The Flame: The Legacy of Murch & Miksevicius’ will be opened by eminent art critic Christopher Allen at Manly Art Gallery & Museum on Saturday 4 May, 2 - 4pm.

Jurgis Miksevicius in his Killara studio, 2004. Photo by Rodney Weidland

Jurgis Miksevicius in his Killara studio, 2004. Photo by Rodney Weidland

Special Exhibition Programs:

Living Art Legacies panel discussion // Sunday May 19, 2-2:30pm.
Michelle and Carolyn will be joined by other ‘Keepers of the Flame’, Cassi Plate (Carl Plate) and Meg Stewart (Margaret Coen), in conversation with Katrina Strickland, author of Affairs of the Art and editor of Good Weekend, about living with artists’ legacies.

Exhibition Talk // Sunday June 2, 3-4pm.
Michelle Murch and Carolyn Leigh share the stories of Arthur Murch and Jurgis Miksevicius as told through the artworks in the exhibition and archives.