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Mirka Mora mural

Peter Maltezos's picture


Mirka Mora mural at Tolarno to be uncovered and preserved

SEPTEMBER 12 2016 - 2:43PM Hannah Francis

Mirka Mora mural

The renovations at the former Tolarno restaurant in August. Photo: Hannah Francis

Heritage Victoria has ordered a St Kilda restaurant to take down a wall it built in front of a heritage-listed mural by artist Mirka Mora following an investigation by The Age.

The owners of pasta restaurant chain Sauced were renovating the front dining room of the Fitzroy Street restaurant, formerly Tolarno, when local residents raised the alarm.

A lattice-like wall was erected a few inches in front of the mural, obscuring at least a third of the work, which was heritage-listed in 2009.

Heritage Victoria engaged art conservator Sabine Cotte, who is writing a PhD on Ms Mora's painting techniques, to inspect the renovations. The organisation determined "not all the works undertaken had been approved by Heritage Victoria".

Co-owners Ben Thompson and Sylvan Spatarel had been granted an external permit for renovations to the window, but not the inside of the room.

Mr Thompson said the second wall had now been taken down under Ms Cotte's supervision. Ms Cotte said she had erected a temporary covering so the mural was not damaged, and would oversee measures to further preserve it.

While there was some flaking in parts of the mural, that damage had existed prior to Sauced taking over the lease, she said. "The main thing is there's no damage done to the mural."

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32 Blocks's picture

Great find - thanks Peter :)

Discover Melbourne’s Past, Present and Future at 32blocks.org

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Peter Maltezos's picture

The stunning Mirka Mora mosaic at Flinders Street Station.

Mirka Mora mural

I collect, therefore I am. thecollectormm.com.au

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theboynoodle's picture

I cannot fathom why someone would not want to make that mural a feature of their restaurant. Good news that it will be kept uncovered - but baffling that anyone ever wanted otherwise.

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Peter Maltezos's picture

The definitive book on Mirka:

Mirka Mora mural

Mirka Mora

Wicked but Virtuous, My Life

Mirka Mora


First published in 2000

In print

Few artists in Australia are held in such affectionate public regard as Mirka Mora. Even fewer have had such an amazing life. Narrowly avoiding Auschwitz during the Second World War, she left France in the early 1950s with her husband Georges and settled in Melbourne.

There they ran three landmark café-restaurants which became magnets for artists, writers and intellectuals – a slice of Paris’s Left Bank in an otherwise staid and provincial Melbourne.

The Mirka Café was not just a fantastic place to be, it was the impetus for the revival of the Contemporary Art Society, which in turn led to the establishment of the acclaimed Museum of Modern Art at Heide.

Wicked But Virtuous is an eccentric autobiographical account of a life lived to the utmost.

I collect, therefore I am. thecollectormm.com.au

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Grampians's picture

"...pasta restaurant CHAIN..."
like we need a lame chain restaurant version of Italian when we have so much authentic Italian here for decades...shallow people with no respect

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theboynoodle's picture

Chains usually started out as independent 'authentic' businesses - they became chains because they were popular. Some chains are bad, obviously. So are lots and lots of 'independent' businesses.. and one of the reasons chains are popular is because (sadly, in my opinion, but it's fair enough) a lot of folk don't like to take a risk.

But even if you look past the ever-unadventurous, chains do a handy job for lots of people. I eat in town every Tuesday evening. I always go to one of Schnitz, Lord of the Fries, Om, or a cheapo Indonesian joint near the state library. So that's one of a big chain, a little chain, a little-r chain, and an independent joint. I could go to new places every week.. but, y'know what, I just want to walk into somewhere where I know what's on the menu, I know what it costs, and I know what it's like.

So hooray for chains. And it works both ways. If you visit one and it's rubbish then you know to avoid it everywhere.

Still.. when people bemoan chain restaurants merely for being chain restaurants, I have to wonder at what point they flipped from being good authentic venues to boring old chains.. was it when they opened their 5th venue? 10th? Maybe you're super strict and consider that any claim to authenticity is lost when venue 2 opens the door?

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Peter Maltezos's picture


Mirka for Melbourne: crowdfunding campaign for Heide Museum
February 25, 2019 Jewel Topsfield

Mirka Mora mural
The late artist Mirka Mora in her Richmond studio, 2016. CREDIT:JAMES GEER

When stylist Lucy Feagins received an email about an auction of artworks and personal objects from the studio of Melbourne’s most famous bohemian, Mirka Mora, she felt uneasy.

“It was a difficult email to get my head around,” she writes on her popular blog The Design Files.

Ms Feagins, like many Melburnians, had been enchanted by the iconic artist when she showed her around her studio in 2014, revealing a “treasure trove of ephemera” collected over the past 60 years.

Almost 800 of these artefacts, including a collection of dolls and prams, will go under the hammer at a Leonard Joel auction on March 3.

“On the one hand, I can understand people’s excitement about having an opportunity to buy a little piece of Mirka’s world,” Ms Feagins wrote.

“But in my heart, I really felt there was something not right about this, the idea that this important collection of Mirka’s art, paperwork, objects, and treasured possessions could be dispersed in this way. Surely, I thought, some of this stuff should be kept in a public collection?”

Ms Feagins contacted Mirka Mora’s family, the Heide Museum of Modern Art (which Mirka’s husband Georges had helped art patrons John and Sunday Reed establish in 1981), and other fans of Mirka Mora’s including Julia Zemiro, Lisa Gorman, Guy Grossi and Beci Orpin.

She then decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign - Mirka for Melbourne - to enable Heide Museum to buy a selection of her studio contents including her main easel, last unfinished painting, brushes and pallets.

I collect, therefore I am. thecollectormm.com.au

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Peter Maltezos's picture


Thank you, Melbourne: Crowdfunding secures Mirka Mora treasures
February 27, 2019 Carolyn Webb

The artistic director of the Heide Museum of Modern Art says she is overwhelmed by public donations enabling the purchase of key artworks and personal items of the late artist Mirka Mora.

Mirka's family have approved Heide's purchase, before Sunday's auction at Leonard Joel, of 31 pieces from the contents of Mora's Richmond studio.

It will mean that a permanent display on the much-loved Melbourne figure will go ahead at her beloved Heide at Bulleen.

Heide's purchases include one of the auction's highest valued pieces, a Sidney Nolan painting on slate, Figure With Flowers, valued at up to $60,000, that had been unknown before it was discovered in a studio drawer.

A crowdfunding campaign titled Mirka For Melbourne, started by blog The Design Files last Friday, hoped to raise $100,000 to keep some of Mora's most treasured possessions in public hands. It smashed its goal, raising over $177,000, so far.

Also purchased by Heide are Mora's last painting, some of her dolls, her easel and palettes, a paint box and a pair of boots.

Heide artistic director Lesley Harding said: "We have been overwhelmed by the response and the fondness with which people have spoken about Mirka, and their desire to see her legacy preserved for the future. It's been very touching.

I collect, therefore I am. thecollectormm.com.au

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Peter Maltezos's picture


Record smashed at packed auction of Mirka Mora's works
March 3, 2019 — 5.28pm Carolyn Webb

Mirka Mora mural
Untitled Mural, c1966, that Heide Museum of Modern Art has purchased for $77,500.

A Mirka Mora mural that once hung in a St Kilda restaurant is now in public hands after Heide Museum of Modern Art bought it at auction on Sunday for more than $70,000.

An ‘‘elated’’ Heide artistic director Lesley Harding paid tribute to art lovers who funded the purchase via crowdfunding.

An art consultant, on behalf of Heide, made the winning bid of $77,500 for Untitled Mural.

The sale eclipsed the previous $25,000 record sale of a Mirka Mora at auction.

The mixed media piece, depicting human faces, birds, fish and snakes, hung in Mirka and husband Georges’ Tolarno restaurant in the 1970s.

Hundreds of art collectors, and art lovers seeking their own piece of Mirka, as her son William put it, packed Leonard Joel’s South Yarra auction house over a marathon day-long sale of more than 700 lots from Mirka’s Richmond studio.

I collect, therefore I am. thecollectormm.com.au

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Simon Denny's picture

I have checked a different kind of books that provides a clear design of painting at a different level. Now a lot of students can get the https://www.college-paper.org/write-my-college-essay/ options which provide the best quality of writing service with an accurate content platform.

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