Aqua Marine

This exhibition is now closed

The sea and coast where land and water meet, has as a subject, occupied the attention of artists for centuries. In island nations such as Great Britain and New Zealand it holds a special significance and has given rise to some distinctive marine imagery.

However before the nineteenth century, manifestations of the sea as a theme in British painting was closely linked with depictions of sea power, often war, and was frequently used just as a backdrop to ship portraiture.

The interpretations of the sea as a theme in its own right began to emerge in the early 1800s. Artists, among them John Constable, J. N. W. Turner and James McNeill Whistler treated it in their work as an expression of naturalism, sometimes imbued with romantic mystery.

This exhibition comprises oils and watercolours from the gallery's historical British and New Zealand collections. The paintings included date mostly from the late 1800s through to the 1930s which was a time when the discovery, and ways of exploring the sea as a potential theme, was in its ascendancy. Among the British and New Zealand artists represented are Julius Olsson, W. L. Wylie, T. S. Robins, Charles Dixon, James Nairn and Alfred W. Walsh.

('Aqua-Marine', Bulletin, No.80, July/August 1992, p.2)

Exhibition number 511