Petrus van der Velden

Netherlands / Aotearoa New Zealand / Australia, b.1837, d.1913

Jacksons, Otira

  • c. 1893
  • Oil on canvas
  • Purchased with assistance from the Olive Stirrat Bequest, 2003
  • 1585 x 970 x 40mm
  • 2003/34
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Petrus van der Velden established a successful reputation as a painter in the Hague during the 1870s and 1880s. It therefore is astounding that he gave his career away in 1890 and sailed with his family halfway round the world to Christchurch. Holland’s loss was New Zealand’s gain, however, and within a short time of his arrival van der Velden travelled to the mountainous Otira region, where he painted some of the most important works of his career. He was captivated by the untouched beauty and ruggedness of a landscape that was so inherently different to what he had known in Holland. He began producing a series of paintings based on a mountain stream at Otira and on his second visit to the region in 1893 painted this small creek at Jacksons just to the west of Otira.

(March 2018)

See conservator Edward Sakowski's MyGallery set about this work.

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • Van der Velden: Otira, February 2011

    Van der Velden’s Otira paintings are a deeply personal view of the region, in which the artist gives form to his impressions of the Otira landscape. In the mid 1890s, van der Velden had begun taking private art classes at his Durham Street studio in Christchurch; his notes for his students provide some insight to his views on painting nature. He believed that the role of an artist was not to merely reproduce the scene before them, but rather to reinterpret it and express something of themselves. In the study notes he produced he explains that: ‘… a picture is the expression of a moment in nature; it is a moment you love best so try to paint it … a landscape need not be a copy of a place so long as you get the character and impression of the moment as it appears to yourself – not as it appears to other people, so that it is an expression of your own feelings.’