Welcome to the Duldig Studio, In East Malvern is the former home and studios of Karl and Slawa Duldig, which is now a museum of their impressive artwork including bronzes by Karl, a renowned modernist sculptor.
If unfamiliar with this veritable treasure trove of a house-museum, you must get acquainted; “the Duldig Studio offers visitors the experience of the working environment of a distinguished sculptor, and his wife, an equally talented and interesting artist. It gives an insight into the cultural life of Melbourne and Australia at a time of enormous change, politically and artistically. This is a profound lesson in the experience of migration transforming the life of the nation.” – Dr. Gerard Vaughan AM, Director of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
This extraordinary house-museum is a living, breathing testament to the care, love and memory which founding director and daughter of the artistic couple, Eva De Jong Duldig, first envisioned the space as a creative tribute to house her & her parents emerge memories, of a life lived well yesteryear, in Vienna, a century ago, in pre-war Europe.
Writers, Corrie Perkins and Penny Webb bothy waxed lyrical about the inherent charms which embrace the visitor upon entry into this unique creative environment providing : “an insight into an intimate approach to art that remains based on the lived experience...” exploring , “one of the city’s most engaging public galleries.”
Image: Founder and Patron of the Duldig Studio in Malvern East, Eva de Jong-Duldig pictured at the Brilliant Brolly fundraiser event, held Saturday evening, 7th April, 2019.
A decade ago saw the museum take their precious archival memorabilia into accreditation and subsequently have been recognised with a swag of well-deserved awards, testament to their volunteer and steerage committee and handful of dedicated part time staff who undertook this herculean task to create a solid platform to ensure the museums’ sustainability;
Winner 2018 Victorian Museums Archival Survival Award for Small Museums – Reaching Out to Our Communities – expanding public programs
Finalist 2016 National Museums and Galleries Awards – Interpretation, Learning and Audience Engagement Award
Winner 2016 Victorian Community History Awards – Historical Interpretation Award
Highly Commended 2014 Victorian Community History Awards – Historical Interpretation Award.
The Brilliant Brolly Campaign is the Duldig Studio major initiative to raise funds to care for this nationally significant collection and to extend current outreach programs. The campaign is supported by Creative Partnerships Australia’s (CPA) Plus 1 matched funding program up to $20,000. To access this funding, the Studio have embarked on a fundraising campaign to raise $20,000 before 31 May 2019 as every dollar raised, Creative Partnerships Australia will match the amount.
A twilight launch for the event was held Saturday 7th April, 2019 which saw a slew of eager supporters, artists, board members, friends and family all gather under the umbrella provided by Mother Nature herself, who held court with a warmer than usual Melbourne evening to auction off the displayed umbrellas, generously gifted by Australian company, Clifton Umbrellas. This corporate service provider, has for 85 years held court and is today 100% owned by the original family operated by the fourth generation of the family of the company founder, Clifton Joseph.
Sparkling wines , strawberries and smiles abounded as the Studio’s life-blood gathered in appreciation for the campaign’s initiative, the brainchild of board member, Janine Kibblewhite, pictured above, as deserving recipient of a prized tipple of bubbly.
Image: a sample of selected creative brolly on display in the rear sculpture garden of the Duldig Studios, courtesy of @thefinkelsteinfiles.
Image: Founder, Eva de Jong-Duldig and director, Lyndel Wischer applaud the inaugural winner of the 2019 Brilliant Brolly competition.
Last month saw February 10 celebrate World Umbrella Day, an occasion not typically marked by raucous celebrations but one always remembered in Melbourne’s East. Inside the vestibule of the once family home, the ubiquitous ‘flirt’ umbrella, patented by its’ inventor, Slawa ( nee Horowitz) Duldig, an early prototype of an Austrian-invented folding, collapsible umbrella in 1928, in Vienna.
Her daughter, Eva recounted, that it was a drawing excursion on a rainy May day in 1928 when Slawa declared: “I armed myself with a big umbrella and muttered to myself: ‘Why on Earth must I carry this utterly clumsy thing? Can’t they invent a small folding umbrella which could be easily carried in a bag?” She home Slawa went and spent time coming up with her design. A prototype was built with parts from watchmakers, and she made sure not to buy too many parts from any one place. “She didn’t want anyone to cotton on that she was doing this umbrella thing,” Eva said.
Slawa obtained a patent for her invention in 1928 and successfully licensed the design to manufacturers in Austria and Germany. Patents for folding, telescopic umbrellas date back to at least 1896 but Slawa’s improvements were elegant. She simplified the folding mechanism, allowing the whole umbrella to be smaller and more practical.
The umbrella went on the market with an unusual name. “The little umbrella was called Flirt, which was very with it,” Eva said, “It was still seen as quite a luxury item; it was beautifully finished and made out of nice materials.” The Flirt was featured at the 1931 Inventor’s Fair in Vienna, with the press describing it as “the magic umbrella of the sculptress”.
Slawa married Karl Duldig that same year and her business helped to fund their new life together. “She was able to furnish the whole house with this beautiful customised art furniture made by a very well-known firm in Vienna,” Eva said. Slawa gave birth to Eva on February 11, 1938, one month before the Nazis marched into Austria. The young family fled via Switzerland, but under pressure from the Nazis Slawa sold her rights to the umbrella to company Brüder Wüster. She was, however, able to evade the authorities and secretly put the umbrella prototypes into storage.
Fast froward to a balmy afternoon which eloquently fades into twilight in time for the umbrellas to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Much merriment and memories made as the event manages to seamlessly seague across multiple generations – just as Slawa would’ve wanted it.