A sculpture-park home has larger-than-life art on view every day


It’s no secret that artwork brings character and life to a home in a very personal way.

Sizable sculptures, often towering over a landscaped garden or greeting from a grand, two-story foyer, lend presence on an even larger scale. Going bigger still, a home located inside a sculpture park – an offshoot of a venerated Australian art gallery – keeps the company of over 100 such artworks.

“People often ask what I do on the property, and I say, ‘sculpture,’” said Stuart Purves, national director of Australian Galleries, which runs the sculpture park in Porcupine Ridge, Australia.

“They look fabulous in the landscape – very commanding,” he said. “It’s very striking having them dotted around the landscape and a joy to walk around and observe from all angles.”

Art of life

Art appreciation and advocacy is in Mr. Purves blood. His parents, Anne and Tam, started Australian Galleries in Melbourne in 1956, which he joined a decade later and has been involved in ever since.

A showcase of significant, modern and contemporary Australian artists since its inception, the gallery has expanded to Sydney and a second Melbourne location across the street from the original dubbed the “Stock Rooms,” which houses work by represented artists not currently on exhibition.

A few years ago, Mr. Purves decided to open another outpost, the Australian Galleries Sculpture Park in nearby Porcupine Ridge.

The medium presents a challenge for galleries, as large-scale sculptures are not only very big, but heavy and often oddly-shaped – certainly part of their appeal, but not easy to display in a traditional setting.

Over 100 sculptures are scattered throughout the property. Images courtesy of Belle Property Australia

“The very fact that they are difficult to have on show was the inspiration for the Sculpture Park,” Mr. Purves said.

“Sculptures hidden away in the artists’ backyards or in storage benefit of nobody. By displaying them at the property, it becomes an exciting adventure, and the works can be seen where otherwise they wouldn’t.”

The park has quickly grown to host over 100 large-scale pieces, all for sale, on its 10 acres, which are open to view by appointment, as there are three residences on site.

“Each work on the property was chosen to suit a particular rise, valley or dam wall, to the best advantage and consideration of each, to each,” Mr. Purves said.

“Installation is a big deal,” he said. “First of all, works have to be transported to the property and then craned off the truck. Once a location is decided upon, a concrete or stone base is built and then the sculpture is, once again, craned onto the stand.”

Despite the commitment of space they require, Australian Galleries has seen more and more clients become interested in large sculptures. The park has received many requests for visits and corresponding purchases from Australia and beyond.

Such works certainly pack a punch with their imposing presence, as shown in the surreal landscape of the Sculpture Park, and they do the same anywhere they find a home with a collector.

The main house on the property has prime sculpture views. Images courtesy of Belle Property Australia

“Choosing art is all very personal,” Mr. Purves said. “It’s usual that there is a space in a home or on a property where sculpture might suit, and then the hunt starts.

“I’ve known houses that have been purpose-built to hang specific paintings, but I don’t know of any built specifically for the display of sculpture both inside and out,” he said. “I’d love to know that there is such a house on the drawing board for sculpture.”

One or more lucky sculpture lovers won’t have to worry about how to display a behemoth piece, as the three parcels of land that contain the Sculpture Park are for sale, each with its own residence.

The main home has a stone fireplace, high ceilings and an open living area perfect for smaller forms of art. The two adjacent properties can be purchased alone or together to have the park all to oneself.

“I have a personal relationship with each [sculpture] and find myself walking around the property enjoying each for its own qualities,” Mr. Purves said of how he enjoys being among the huge works.

As a passionate promoter of the arts, Mr. Purves knows others will enjoy doing so too.

“Art is inclined to attract bright and interesting people, both in those that make art and those that wish to be involved and purchase art,” he said. “It is entirely encompassing, enthralling and interesting.”