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Vali Myers archive

Identifier(s): PARC 4


Content Description

Archive of material relating to the artist Vali Myers, documenting her life. Includes her visual diaries from 1963 to 2003, original drawings, posters, realia from her studio in the Nicholas Building Melbourne including jewellery, paintboxes and art materials, furniture, large reproductions of original drawings 'blow-ups', Swiss Prints, transparencies of artworks with names of owners, slides, photographs by numerous photographers including Australian photographers and Dutch photographers Ed van der Elsken and Marco Bakker, flexible base negatives and glass negatives.


  • [between 1949 and 2003]


  • Myers, Vali, 1930-2003 (Person)

Copyright status

This work is in copyright

Conditions governing use

Copyright restrictions apply.

Biographical / Historical

Vali Myers (1930-2003) was born in Sydney, NSW, to William Lewis Ingham Myers (1900-1959) and Vera Alice Balfour (1899-1976). The Myers family moved to Belmont near Newcastle, then to the Melbourne suburb of Box Hill when Vali was 10. Vali began dancing and became the leading dancer of the Melbourne Modern Ballet Company of Daisy Pirnitzer and Hanny Kolm (formerly of the Viennese Bodenweiser Ballet). Vali left Melbourne for post war Paris at 19 in 1950, living on the streets of the St Germain-des-Pres district of the Left Bank and dancing in the cafes and nightclubs. In 1951, after being expelled from France, she began a walkabout, travelling to Brussels, Italy and Austria, meeting Rudi Rappold in Vienna. In 1952-1954 she travelled with Rudi around Italy, Holland, Belgium, Cornwall and Wales, finding an abandoned one room domed pavilion at Il Porto Italy in 1954.

During her opium years in Paris from 1955-1958, she lived in a small hotel room in the Hotel E'Alsace Lorraine in the Rue des Canettes. Vali was photographed by Ed van der Elsken for his book about bohemian life 'Love on the left bank' (1956) and George Plimpton wrote about her life and reproduced her black and white drawings in the 'Paris Review' in Spring 1958, establishing her international reputation.

In 1958 Vali moved to Il Porto near Positano, with Rudi Rappold (1930-1988) whom she married in Vienna in 1955. She lived there with Rudi and later Gianni Menichetti who arrived in the valley in 1971, and founded the Il Porto Wildlife Oasis (declared a Wildlife Oasis under the protection of the World Wildlife Fund in 1988). Vali cared for over 100 animals and dedicated herself to her drawings. In 1970 she travelled to New York for the first time to sell her work. She regularly travelled to New York’s Chelsea Hotel to sell and exhibit her drawings, dividing her time between New York and Positano.

In 1975, a second article on her drawings was published in 'The Paris Review' by George Plimpton. In 1980, she published her book 'Vali Myers: Drawings 1949-79' by Open House, London, with an introduction by George Plimpton. In 1982, 'Vali Myers', a limited-edition portfolio of thirteen drawings with an essay by Simon Vinkenoog was published by Courvoiser, Zurich. Vali exhibited her work in Amsterdam, New York, and Italy, becoming internationally known as an artist. Her first exhibition in Amsterdam was held at the Galerie Dimitros, in 1972 and 1974, with solo exhibitions at the Galerie Husstege Brabant, Holland in 1976, and the Bodley Gallery, New York 1976. Vali held 18 major solo shows in Holland, America, Italy, Switzerland and Australia. A major retrospective exhibition was held at the La Trobe University Museum of Art in 2013.

In 1993, Vali Myers returned to Australia, establishing a studio-gallery in the Nicholas Building, Studio 2, 7th floor in 37 Swanston Street Melbourne where she showed 'Blow-up' reproductions of her original drawings and sold her prints, postcards, posters, books and videos. Her first Australian exhibition was held near the end of 1993 at the Emerald Hill Gallery, Melbourne and her second Australian exhibition was held there in 1994. In 1997, she held an exhibition at Mary Place Gallery, Sydney and in 1999 held two solo exhibitions at Roar Studios, Melbourne.

Vali spent the last 10 years of her life between southern Italy and her studio in Melbourne. Five documentary films were made about her life from 1965-2002, including 'Vali' (1965) by Sheldon and Diane Rochlin (later Flame Schon), 'Death in the Port Jackson Hotel' (1971) by Ed van der Elsken, 'Vali's World' (1984) by Caterine Milinaire, 'The Tightrope Dancer' (1989) and 'The Painted Lady' (2000) by Ruth Cullen. She left a body of work from the 1950s until her death in 2003, producing over 130 original drawings. Vali's work is held in private collections in America, Britain, Italy, Holland and Australia, and public collections including the Peter Stuyvesant Collection Amsterdam.


10 linear metres




The Collection has been arranged into 15 series and each series is divided into sections by format.

Immediate source of acquisition

Gift; Vali Myers Art Gallery Trust; 2018.


  • Myers, Vali, 1930-2003 (Person)
Guide to the Vali Myers Archives
Language of description
Script of description

Repository details

Part of the Pictures Collection, State Library Victoria Repository

328 Swanston Street
Melbourne Victoria 3000 Australia
03 8664 7002