From the collection: Rose Seidler House artwork

The Rose Seidler House, Christopher Zanko, 2020, acrylic on wood relief carving. Sydney Living Museums 

On 17 December 1950, the young Austrian-born architect Harry Seidler took 100 invited guests on a tour of his newly completed – and first – Australian commission, a house designed and built for his parents, Rose and Max. Rose Seidler House would become one of the most iconic mid-20th-century domestic dwellings in Australia, and launch Seidler’s long and distinguished career. It was gifted to Sydney Living Museums in 1988 and opened to the public in its original furnished condition. 

In December 2020, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the house’s completion, SLM commissioned Illawarra-based artist Christopher Zanko to produce a ‘portrait’ of the house. Zanko’s practice combines printmaking and painting techniques to record modernist suburban homes, celebrating their distinctive aesthetic and atmosphere. 

Zanko’s portrait captures the play of negative and positive space to accentuate the sculptural form of the house within its landscape setting. By applying paint to the woodblock, Zanko reverses the traditional woodcut technique and instead creates tactile, three-dimensional works that invite closer inspection. The work honours the presence of the house and its dignified bearing, and is a fitting tribute to this unique house from a rising figure in contemporary Australian art. 


Rose Seidler House is closed for conservation until 22 August 2021. The Rose Seidler House portrait will be displayed in the Museum of Sydney later this year.