A crowdfunding campaign titled Mirka For Melbourne, started by blog The Design Files last Friday, hoped to raise $100,000 to keep some of Mora’s most treasured possessions in public hands. It smashed its goal, raising over $170,000, so far.
Also purchased by Heide are Mora’s last painting, some of her dolls, her easel and palettes, a paint box and a pair of boots.
Heide artistic director Lesley Harding said: «We have been overwhelmed by the response and the fondness with which people have spoken about Mirka, and their desire to see her legacy preserved for the future. It’s been very touching.
«I’m absolutely thrilled that the public have come to helps us to acquire this amazing material, so that Heide can represent Mirka in a really full and beautiful way, for future generations.
«We’re a public institution, a not-for-profit. We don’t have bundles of money to go out and buy things as they come up.»
Mirka’s son William Mora said he was delighted with the result.
«To have our dream of a Mirka museum at Heide realised by the people of Melbourne is as humbling as Mirka being the only woman artist to be offered a state funeral.»
«Mirka can now take her deserved place amongst the great artists of the Heide era.»
The campaign also purchased for Heide the 1970 painting When the Soul Sleeps, considered one of Mora’s most significant works, and her letters, diaries and photos, all of which hadn’t been included in the auction.
More than 700 lots of Mora’s art, other artists’ works, a bicycle, furniture, dolls and books will still be auctioned at Leonard Joel in South Yarra on Sunday.
An initial Mora display at Heide will open within months at the former house of Mirka’s friends, Sunday and John Reed, situated on the museum premises.
Carolyn Webb is a reporter for The Age.