Portraits

To celebrate the launch of 85 Spring Street, Golden Age Group has commissioned an exclusive series of portraits studying the essential components of the residence—spring, Melbourne, time and the building itself. Produced in collaboration with Australian creatives and cultural institutions, the multidisciplinary portraits comprise contemporary and archival materials to expand upon the architectural vision for Spring Street as a total work of art. Contributing to the portrait series are esteemed Melbourne photographer Bill Henson, the National Gallery of Victoria, arts writer Michael Shmith, The State Library of Victoria, historian Sarah Rood and architect Kristen Whittle.

Bill Henson

Born in 1955, Bill Henson is one of Australia’s most acclaimed contemporary photographers with a prolific portfolio of painterly portraiture and landscapes. His work has been showcased by prestigious venues including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the NGV. In celebration of the site’s botanic quality, Golden Age Group has commissioned Henson to create a new body of work exclusively for 85 Spring Street. In Portraits of Spring, Henson captures the essence of the Treasury, Carlton and Fitzroy gardens through his signature use of chiaroscuro and bokeh techniques, resulting in a romantic abstraction. Henson will also create a permanent artwork for the lobby, drawing the gardens indoors.

‘Untitled’ 2017
Bill Henson

Madame Melba c. 1902
Rupert Bunny
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through The Art Foundation
of Victoria with the assistance of
Dinah and Henry Krongold CBE,
Founder Benefactors, 1980

Head of a man 1930
Paul Montford
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gift of E. V. Hudson, 1958

Muse and beetle (1993) plate 18 from
The writer and his muse series 1993
Arthur Boyd
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented through The Art Foundation
of Victoria by Australian Galleries,
Member, 1994
© Arthur Boyd’s work reproduced with
the permission of Bundanon Trust

History

Spring Street has been the epicentre of Melbourne’s sociopolitical identity since the dawn of Australian society. Soon after Robert Hoddle established the city grid, the street became the seat of political power, housing both the Parliament and Treasury buildings. During 1880s, Spring Street became synonymous with the “Marvelous Melbourne” movement—revered equally by the elite and the bohemians, such as Impressionist Tom Roberts. As the city flourished, The Windsor Hotel and Princess Theatre provided the influx of politicians, professionals and artists with a cosmopolitan escape. Others were attracted to the architectural splendour of these early masterpieces and over time, the street amassed several grand buildings. Today, the National Trust protects Spring Street’s icons including Anzac House, Alcaston House and the Shell Building. 

Alcaston House, 2 Collins Street,
from the Old Treasury Building
Photography by Wolfgang Sievers, 1973

Images courtesy of the
State Library of Victoria

Treasury Gardens

Images courtesy of the
State Library of Victoria