This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Lyon Housemuseum

Homes

What is Melbourne’s best kept secret? This question is one we often pose to our interviewees. Today, I have my own response.

The Lyon Housemuseum in Kew. It’s so under-the-radar, I’m ashamed to say even I didn’t know about it until last month.

This remarkable Australian home belongs to one very special family. Corbett Lyon is a fourth generation architect, and co-director of Lyons Architecture. His partner Yueji, and daughters Carlin and Jaqlin are his creative partners in this truly innovative endeavour – an art museum which is also their family home.

 

22nd February, 2017

The Housemuseum concert organ with John Nixon’s ‘Untitled Colour Croup E (Random)’, 2008. Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Music Room orange stairs with Rose Nolan’s ‘Word Combo #1’, 1998 (centre) and John Nixon’s ‘Untitled Colour Croup E (Random)’, 2008 (right). Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The rear gallery of the Lyon Housemuseum in Kew, Melbourne. Artworks include Christopher Langton’s ‘Runt’, 2011 (left) and ‘Death Warmed Up’, 2011 (right) and Constanze Zikos’ mirrored work ‘Chrome Theory in Exodus aka Vertical Vault View 2 (Reprise)’, 2015 (centre). Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

White Cube space with ‘Chrome Theory in Exodus…..Vertical Vault View 1’, 2015 (left) and ‘The Gold Dust Rush aka Gold Metal Theory’, 2013 (right) by Constanze Zikos. Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Central Music Room with mural and neon installation ‘YOU’VEALWAYSWANTEDTOBEBLACK (white friend)’, 2006 by Brooke Andrew (left) and Kathy Temin’s ‘White House with Tree’, 2008-2010 by (centre). Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Detail of central living space featuring Patricia Piccinini’s ‘Truck Babies’, 1999. Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

View through to front sculpture garden with Christopher Langton’s ‘Swell’, 2003. Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

View from formal living room out to front sculpture garden with Patricia Piccinini’s ‘The Uprising’, 2008 (left), Christopher Langton’s ‘Swell’, 2003 (centre) and ‘God Save the Queen’ (Coin), 1995-2003 by Constanze Zikos (right). Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

From left to right: Carlin, Jaqlin, Corbett and Yueji Lyon pictured at home. Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

View from central living area into the White Cube space. Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Howard Arkley’s monumental ‘Fabricated Rooms’, 1997-1999 in the first floor dinning room. Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Formal living room with (left to right) ‘Cover Up #13 (ML)’, 2014 by Callum Morton, ‘Howzat’, 2000 by Jon Campbell and ‘Oceania’, 1997 by Bren Harris. Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

View from Arkley dinning room into white cube space. Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Formal living room with Jon Campbell’s ‘What Are You Fuckin Lookin At’, 2015 (left), Constanze Zikos’ ‘God Save the Queen (Coin)’, 1995-2003 (centre) and Callum Morton’s ‘Cover Up #13 (ML)’, 2014. Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Entry hall and staircase up to Arkley dinning room. Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

First floor library with ‘Kaleidoseopo House’, 2001 by Peter Wheelwright and Laurie Simmons. Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The desk Corbett Lyon, architect and collector, with plans for Reko Rennie’s ‘VISIBLE INVISIBLE’, 2017. Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Corbett’s office, which is also the museum library. Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Looking out into the courtyard. Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

First floor living area with Janenne Eaton’s ‘Sing the Sallors’, 1990 (left). Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

View of rear courtyard with Patricia Piccinini’s ‘Truck Babies’, 1999. Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

An aerial shot of Reko Rennie’s artwork at the Lyon Housemuseum in Kew, Melbourne. Photo – John Gollings. Courtesy of Lyon Housemuseum.

Detail of ‘VISIBLE INVISIBLE’, 2017 by Reko Rennie. Supported by Dulux, the work has been created using Dulux colours Pink Mystery (new), Spectacular Rose (new), Mondrian BlueGarnish, and Dulux Metallic Effect – Silver Spoon.  Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Reko Rennie’s ‘VISIBLE INVISIBLE’, 2017 from bird’s-eye-view. Supported by Dulux, the work has been created using Dulux colours Pink Mystery (new), Spectacular Rose (new), Mondrian BlueGarnish, and Dulux Metallic Effect – Silver Spoon.  Photo – John Gollings. Courtesy of Lyon Housemuseum.

Detail of ‘VISIBLE INVISIBLE’, 2017 by Reko Rennie. Supported by Dulux, the work has been created using Dulux colours Pink Mystery (new), Spectacular Rose (new), Mondrian BlueGarnish, and Dulux Metallic Effect – Silver Spoon.  Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Reko Rennie’s ‘VISIBLE INVISIBLE’, 2017 is a foundational artwork for the new Housemuseum galleries being constructed adjacent to the Housemuseum. Supported by Dulux, the work has been created using Dulux colours Pink Mystery (new), Spectacular Rose (new), Mondrian BlueGarnish, and Dulux Metallic Effect – Silver Spoon.  Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 22nd February 2017

‘From its inception, our intention has been to share with others the experience of art, interwoven with the spaces and artefacts of a living, family home’ – Corbett Lyon

 

The Lyon Housemuseum remains largely unknown to most Melburnians. An impressive family home to art collectors Corbett and Yueji Lyon and their two grown-up daughters Carlin and Jaqlin, this incredible property also serves as an expertly curated art museum, housing the Lyon’s spectacular collection of Australian contemporary art. On designated days each week, the home is open to the public via private tours conducted by members of the family.

The Housemuseum first opened in 2009.  A unique proposition, this hybrid of a private residence and a public museum is the first purpose-designed museum of this kind in the world. (SO proud it’s in Melbourne!). It is a space that sparks the creative imagination so profoundly, bravely re-imagining the relationship between art and architecture, between public and private space.

A home like this represents collaboration in many levels. First and foremost, the Housemuseum is a unique creative partnership between Corbett Lyon and his wife, Yueji, who began collecting Australian contemporary art over twenty-six years ago. Today, their collection comprises more than 350 works from over 50 Australian artists, including Brook Andrew, Howard Arkley, Patricia Piccinini, Callum Morton, and many more. Conceived by Corbett, the museum is very much a family affair – he and Yueji plan each exhibition (the artwork on display changes annually), host all the public tours in person (Yueji takes weekday tours, Corbett does the weekend shift!), Carlin and Jaqlin assist with various administration and design tasks, whilst Yueji takes all the bookings (and, incredibly, also does all the cleaning?!).

Though they’ve hosted over 10,000 visitors since opening in 2009, the Lyon family haven’t been particularly proactive about publicity – until now. This month, though, they have some news to share. Corbett and Yueji have just announced a major extension of their existing offering – they are building a NEW museum adjacent to the Housemuseum, and they’re donating it to the public – at a cost of $14.5 million.

Due to open mid 2018, the new museum will operate in tandem with the existing Housemuseum, and will offer a new purpose-built exhibition space for both local and international art, temporary exhibitions and events. Construction has only just commenced, and has been commemorated in the most spectacular way, with the commission of a fittingly ambitious ‘foundational artwork’.

VISIBLE INVISIBLE‘ is a colossal painting (the size of an Olympic swimming pool!) by Melbourne artist Reko Rennie. It was commissioned by the Lyon Family to form the foundation of the new museum, covering the entire concrete base of the prospective building. Unbelievably, the artwork will be visible in its entirety only for a very short time, as the new museum will be constructed directly on top of it!

This immense painting is Reko Rennie’s largest painting to date, and was created with the support of Dulux, who supplied over 600 litres of paint to realise this ambitious project. Using Dulux colours Pink Mystery (new), Spectacular Rose (new), Mondrian Blue, Garnish, and Metallic Effect Silver Spoon, this new work references iconography of Rennie’s Aboriginal Kamilaroi heritage, with elements of graffiti and street art. Created in the knowledge of its impending concealment, the work alludes to notions of indigenous cultural erasure.

‘We wanted to rethink the foundation laying for the new museum’ explains Corbett. ‘I was struck by the idea of painting a large image over the whole of the foundation, and then progressively covering it up; a bit like the ‘Lost Leonardo’ in Florence. Artist Reko Rennie was very enthusiastic and has produced a truly spectacular work. The title, VISIBLE INVISIBLE perfectly captures the idea.’

Reno Rennie’s artwork is currently visible from the street (as well as passing trams!), but as the new museum gradually takes shape, it will be progressively concealed. The Lyon Housemuseum will continue to be open to the general public for pre-booked visits. From mid 2018, the New Housemuseum galleries will be open to the public six days per week.

Watch our video tour of the Lyon Housemuseum and interview with Corbett Lyon below! Massive thanks to our video partners Sirap for helping us document the Lyon Housemuseum on film – this one really needed a video!

View Comments

Similar Stories

Art

Inside Look · Van Gogh and the Seasons

An Inside Look at the National Gallery of Victoria's latest blockbuster exhibition, in partnership with Dulux.

Studio Visit

Ash Keating

The Melbourne-based artist exhibits 'Gravity System Response', a collection of 20 vast, vibrant paintings on linen, created in the his Bru...

This Week

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Ceramicist Inspired By Japanese Ikebana

A studio visit with Kate Brouwer of Asobimasu Clay, one of Melbourne's most exciting makers!
Elle Murrell

Architecture

Avoiding The Coastal Cliché, With Mid Century Flair

A Portsea home gets a contemporary revamp, from Studio Esteta.
Miriam McGarry

News

An Exhibition Celebrating Humankind's Giant Leap

Geelong Gallery is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with a captivating showcase, bringing together artistic responses
Elle Murrell

News

Sunday Life Drawing Classes In Seriously Lush Surrounds

Fitzroy-based creatives Ladies of Leisure team up with artist Lani Mitchell for a dreamy life drawing series in July!
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Sydney Renovation With Serious WOW Factor

A grand Mediterranean villa in Bellevue Hill, reimagined by Luigi Rosselli Architects.
Miriam McGarry

News

A Curated Selection Of Designer Brands At The Big Design Trade

Melbourne’s premium trade show for original design and gifts is back for its second year!
Sponsored

News

Mangkaja x Gorman = Perfection

Clear space in your wardrobe right now, Gorman’s first collaboration with Indigenous artists is going to fly off the shelves!
Miriam McGarry

News

A Showcase Of Architectural Sculptures + Urban-Inspired Artworks

The Koskela Gallery presents new ceramics by Jane McKenzie and Saxon Quinn inspired by the built environment.
Sally Tabart

Studio Visit

The Seafaring Painter Pushing The Boundaries Of Maritime Art

A sail and studio visit with one-of-a-kind artist Gemma Rasdall, as her new body of work is unveiled in Sydney.
Elle Murrell

News

This Designer Pop Up Store Is Open For Three Months Only!

Shop iconic pieces from Cult styled to perfection by Michelle Macarounas of Infinite Design Studio.
Sally Tabart
  24 hours ago

TDF Design Awards

Take A Stroll Through The TDF Design Awards Landscape Design Finalists!

Celebrating the best of private gardens, civic spaces and hidden courtyards, across Australia.

Shopping

A New Start-Up That Packs A Punch + A Giveaway!

Melbourne luggage brand July puts a new spin on suitcases.

Interiors

How To Ace Apartment Living

Our interiors columnist Lauren Li reflects on living to the fullest in small spaces, with clever tips to optimise apartment life!
Lauren Li
  2 hours ago

Art

A Foreign Affair With Ross Taylor

The Kyneton based artist shares his bold drawings, exploring the luxury and debauchery (!) of overseas holidays.
Miriam McGarry
  23 hours ago

Homes

A Stylish, Sentimental Home In St Kilda

The jaw-dropping, grand St Kilda home of Barb Hyman and family.
Lucy Feagins
  10 hours ago

Similar Stories

Art

Inside Look · Van Gogh and the Seasons

An Inside Look at the National Gallery of Victoria's latest blockbuster exhibition, in partnership with Dulux.

Studio Visit

Ash Keating

The Melbourne-based artist exhibits 'Gravity System Response', a collection of 20 vast, vibrant paintings on linen, created in the his Bru...