John Gibb

Scotland / Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1831, d.1909

Shades of Evening, the Estuary

  • Presented by the Canterbury Society of Arts, 1932
  • Oil on canvas
  • 685 x 1145 x 35mm
  • 69/153
  • 1880
  • View on google maps

About the artist

Gibb, John (Scotland, b.1831, d.1909)

John Gibb in his studio
The Weekly Press, 12 December 1900, p. 62
Image supplied by Christchurch City Libraries (CCL-PhotoCD07-IMG0022)

By 1880, when the Canterbury Society of Arts was formed, John Gibb was the most popular painter of the Christchurch art world. Gibb was so highly regarded that the very first work acquired for Christchurch’s civic art collection was his Shades of Evening, the Estuary. It was purchased in 1881 by the Canterbury Society of Arts from its inaugural annual exhibition and then presented to the Gallery in 1932. Gibb loved sunsets; the golden hour when there’s still a trace of day in the sky. According to one family member Gibb would drop whatever he was doing in the evening to watch and study the setting sun. His pleasure in the atmospheric effects of evening light is apparent here, as the sun’s last rays create a subtle glow on the clouds, which is also reflected in the water. The view takes in Christchurch’s Ihutai / Avon-Heathcote Estuary.

(March 2018)

earlier labels about this work
  • John Gibb,18 December 2015 – 28 August 2016

    This painting was the first work bought for Christchurch's civic art collection, purchased in 1881 by the Canterbury Society of Arts from its inaugural annual exhibition and then given to the Gallery in 1932.

    Gibb loved sunsets; according to one family member he would drop whatever he was doing in the evening to watch and study the setting sun. His pleasure in the atmospheric effects of evening light is apparent here, as the last rays of the setting sun create an intense orange glow reflected on the clouds.

    The view takes in the estuary, also known as Te Wahapū, of Christchurch’s Avon (Ōtākaro) and Heathcote (Ōpāwaho) rivers, looking west towards the foothills of the Southern Alps.

  • This view of Christchurch’s Avon / Heathcote Estuary, also known as the Opawaho / Otakaro Estuary, looks west towards the foothills of the Southern Alps. A much more settled landscape today, in 1880 John Gibb shows only a small limp red flag and a derelict rowboat as signs of human activity. The painting is in the precise, academic realist style to which Gibb was exposed in Scotland. He liked to paint the atmospheric effects of the setting or rising sun, which give a romantic aspect to his works. Gibb was born in Cumbernauld, Scotland. He received tuition from John McKenzie at Greenockand, in 1861, began exhibiting at the Royal Scottish Academy. In 1868, however, he began exhibiting at the more progressive Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts. Gibb emigrated from Scotland in 1876. He settled in Christchurch, was a founding member of the Canterbury Society of Arts and travelled widely in New Zealand, painting many different regions. (Label date unknown)