Lee MacCormick Edwards made his mark in philanthropy, art history and photography


Edwards has lectured and taught extensively in the United States, Europe and Australia, specializing in the arts and social history of the 19th century. From 2002 to 2008, she sat on the art history faculty of her alma mater. the Australian Dictionary of Biography observed of his grandfather MacCormick: “Taciturn by nature, he did not like to lecture and was not good at it, but taught by example and was always ready to answer questions. Her granddaughter, however, was natural – enthusiastic, engaged and supportive.

At a lunch at Schloss Fuschl in Salzburg in August 1989, Edwards met Michael Crane, an artist of Scottish descent who had worked at the Marlborough Gallery in London in the 1970s. A lasting union followed and in April 2013, they got married. The Salzburg Festival, in which they participated for 30 years, was a common passion. In 2005, Edwards received the Goldene Kreuz from the State of Salzburg for his work as the head of the American Friends of the festival.

Edwards and Crane got a lot out of their many years in Manhattan, spending weekends on Long Island and vacations in their Vail apartment. They have actively supported major New York institutions – the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney, the Frick and MOMA, the Metropolitan Opera and the New York City Ballet. From 2002 to 2013, Lee was president of the International Festival Society, which awards grants to promising young American classical musicians at the dawn of their professional careers.

His book Herkomer: a Victorian artist, on portrait painter and social-realist Hubert von Herkomer, was hailed by a critic as “a masterful appraisal” and received the Henry-Russell Hitchcock Award from the Victorian Society of America for the best book of 2001. She followed suit. in 2008 with The Idyllists: Frederick Walker and his entourage.

Edwards also became an accomplished photographer and exhibited annually. Although much of his life was lived in America and Europe, his heart had always been in Australia. His last photographic exhibition in America was at the Heimbold Visual Arts Center at Sarah Lawrence College in November 2012. It was titled My world and presented his native Australia.

As she wrote, “I wanted to show a diverse yet interconnected set of images of the colorful and bright environments that inspire me. Whether it’s water shimmering in the glow of the Australian sun, scenes from void in the outback, exotic animals and birds, or serene European lakes, these elements, with their beautiful colors and shapes, are part of a larger space – a whole world to me. “

In October 2013, Edwards decided to donate a number of his photographs to an exhibition to support the Garvan Institute and St Vincent’s Curran Foundation and their work on ovarian cancer, bearing the cost the framing of the works and the staging of the exhibition itself. The exhibition, Capture the moment, was well received and raised significant funds for the cause.

Edwards, referring to one of his photos, the picture of a dinghy towed behind a rowboat near Bobbin Head, wrote: “He looked so sad all alone in the back, but he did a lovely wake and the surrounding eucalyptus shores added color and energy. “She continued,” An American friend, who purchased the picture for my show, said the boat was a metaphor for me – surrounded by water and nature that I love so much. Oh my God! . You can read whatever you want there. “

She was also thrilled that Sydney City Hall had acquired a huge photo of the Garden Island Hammerhead Crane for their collection.

Her philanthropy at home has extended through her membership on the Board of Trustees of the National Gallery of Australia Foundation and as an American friend of the National Gallery of Australia. She has also supported the Australian Ballet and Opera Australia.

Her final year was spent, with the unwavering support of her husband, in their apartment in Edgecliff where she overlooked Sydney Harbor, across from the former family home, Kilmory, at the Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club. , founded by her grandfather and from where she had undertaken many trips in his kayak. Old school buddies and new friends gathered around her, marveling at her courage and good humor.

Lee MacCormick Edwards is survived by Michael and his daughter, Alison.

Charles Curran and Mark McGinness


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