There are not many works in Christchurch Art Gallery's collection that can be pin-pointed to the exact date in which they were completed but Petrus van der Velden's Self-portrait with Otira Gorge is one and it was completed exactly 100 years ago today.
This wonderful charcoal self-portrait by van der Velden was completed just three weeks prior to his death in Auckland on 11 November 1913. What's interesting about this work is the way the artist portrays himself confidently in front of one of his last paintings, Otira Gorge (1912) which is in Auckland Art Gallery's collection. Standing proudly before his Otira painting, paint brushes in hand, van der Velden readily identifies his Otira Gorge paintings as one of his greatest achievements and to be perfectly honest I for one couldn't argue with the guy. Spending twelve or so days regularly visiting the Christchurch Art Gallery's exhibition Van der Velden: Otira before the earthquakes forced its closure certainly drove home the point that the van der Velden's Otira series are an extraordinary body of work.
Te Papa are including a van der Velden focus in their new permanet collection hang, nga toi arts Te Papa, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the artist's death so if you are in Wellington or passing through make sure you pay a visit.