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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Sidney Myer, 1936

Paul Montford

cast bronze on wooden base (including base: 86.0 cm x 65.0 cm depth 40.5 cm)

Sidney Myer (1878–1934), retail magnate and philanthropist, arrived in Melbourne in 1898 as a penniless Russian immigrant named Simca Baevski. He and his brother Elcon adopted the name Myer and worked at a drapery store in Flinders Lane before moving to Bendigo, where they opened the first Myer store in 1900. The venture prospered, and they opened a second store in 1908. In 1911 Sidney Myer bought a drapery concern in Bourke Street, Melbourne, along with a number of neighbouring properties. On this site he built the Myer Emporium, which introduced to Australia the bargain basement, the self-service cafeteria, motorised home deliveries, and other advanced selling techniques based on Myer’s observations on frequent trips to the US and Europe. The business expanded to Adelaide and later across Australia. In 1920 he married Merlyn Baillieu, the daughter of an established Queenscliff family. Through the Depression Myer continued to expand and Sidney Myer made generous contributions to cultural and charitable causes, making funds available, for example, to provide work for unemployed married men on the Yarra Boulevard. Myer’s sons Kenneth Baillieu (who died in 1992) and Sidney Baillieu maintained the family’s tradition of philanthropic generosity and members of the Myer family remain prominent contributors to Melbourne’s civic and cultural life.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Coles Myer Ltd 2002
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program

Accession number: 2002.47

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Paul Montford (age 68 in 1936)

Sidney Myer

Donated by

Coles Myer Ltd (6 portraits)

Related portraits

1. Sir Robert Gibson, 1934. All Paul Montford.

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

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On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Sidney Myer, 1936 Paul Montford
Sidney Myer, 1936 Paul Montford
Sidney Myer, 1936 Paul Montford
Sidney Myer, 1936 Paul Montford

Four from the 30s

Magazine article by Andrew Sayers AM, 2003

Australia's tradition of sculpted portraits stretches back to the early decades of the nineteenth century and continues to sustain a group of dedicated sculptors.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.