"…a bouquet for every performer at every performance, with the words of my cousin and mentor Olive Patterson: ‘encouragement is the greatest form that love can take’" - Barbara Blackman
Melbourne Recital Centre is at the heart of an inspired community of musicians and music-lovers.
In 2014, Barbara Blackman gave a bouquet to the world’s musicians in the form of ‘Fifty Flowers’ a 1978 painting by her former husband Charles Blackman.
The painting resides in the Centre’s Green Room where it is enjoyed by and inspires a thousand international and Australian musicians each year.
The painting, an exuberant floral still life counterpointed by a placid white cat, had a touching genesis: during their separation Barbara sent Charles a bunch of fifty golden flowers for his fiftieth birthday, which Charles “returned” when Barbara herself turned fifty.
Barbara was inspired to give ‘Fifty Flowers’ to Melbourne Recital Centre by the example of the Centre’s Founding Patron Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, a woman who Barbara admired greatly.
‘Fifty Flowers’ joins the Centre’s visual arts collection, which includes among others the significant large tapestry, ‘Dulka Warngiid’ (Land of All) created by the Australian Tapestry Workshop and a suite of lithographs by Australian artist Fred Williams, given to the Centre by the late artist wife, Lyn Williams AM.
Then CEO Mary Vallentine AO, described this gift as “a wonderful confluence of creativity, music and generosity”.