15 February – 1 June 2020
Celebrating one of New Zealand’s most significant expatriate artists.
Following the trail of an inspired, inveterate traveller, this long-awaited survey exhibition celebrates Frances Hodgkins’s place in twentieth-century European art. Tracing the artist’s frequently nomadic life from her upbringing in Dunedin, through France, Morocco and Spain to her final days in England, it examines the influence of location on her development as a modernist painter, and of travel as a vital source of inspiration. Developed and toured by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki as part of the Frances Hodgkins project, the exhibition brings together works from New Zealand and international collections.
From the Store
Frances Hodgkins: European Journeys is an Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki touring exhibition, curated by Mary Kisler, and part of The Complete Frances Hodgkins project launched in 2019. This presentation is adapted from a talk first given at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū on 26 February 2020, the week after the exhibition was opened here.
Gallery Librarian Tim Jones discusses the list of subscribers who funded the acquisition of Pleasure Garden by Frances Hodgkins.
There are several people on this list whose identities remain a mystery. Watch the video and if you cen tell us who any of the unknown people are, please tell us, as we would love to give them their rightful place in this piece of Christchurch history.
25 February 2007
Drawn from collections in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, this exquisite exhibition of paintings by one of New Zealand's most original and internationally acclaimed artists illustrates Frances Hodgkins' recurring use of motifs.
An Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki touring exhibition.
Welcome to the autumn issue of Bulletin. Here at the Gallery, we’re about to move into a major changeover as we rehang our upstairs collection galleries. When they reopen again on 10 April, the whole space will have been given over to a major new exhibition.
A Lifelong Affair
It may have been Rachel Hodgkins’ assertion during her daughters’ childhood in Dunedin that Isabel would be the painter in the family that drew out the stubborn streak in her younger daughter Frances. And indeed, as the fates were to prove, Isabel, once married, had to put aside her brushes for the most part to care for her family, while Frances, rather than making her way as a piano teacher as her mother had intended, chose a different course. Spurred on by her Italian tutor Girolamo Nerli’s descriptions of the bohemian life in Europe and the artistic revolution taking place in certain quarters, she set out for Europe, determined to prove her family’s assumptions wrong.
Frances Hodgkins's Pleasure Garden 1932
I see pumpkins floating through the air.
I see apples, or maybe they are pears?
A lampshade, looking worn and rubbery,
Casting shadows over statues snogging in the shrubbery.
Hodgkins visited Spain several times throughout the 1930s, spending time at Ibiza and Tossa de Mar. On one visit to Ibiza, where the weather often swung drastically between huge storms and blue skies, she mentioned in a letter to the artist Karl Hagedorn that: ‘… in this clear ivory light every object looks important & significant – I wonder what you would make of subjects up here – things appear in stark simplicity minus all detail – nothing corked up (bouchée) or hidden as in the grey, or brown light of the north.’
The Dunedin-born Frances Hodgkins was running her own watercolour painting school in Paris when World War I broke out in 1914. She relocated to St. Ives in Cornwall, where she found many displaced Belgian families also living, and painted this work in response to their wretched plight. Unshatterable, one of her first oil paintings, was exhibited in London in 1916 and purchased by the painter Sir Cedric Morris. Dr Rodney Wilson, the Gallery’s director in 1980, visited Morris, and with assistance from the National Art Collections Fund, a British art charity, successfully secured this work for the Christchurch collection.
(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)
While our Frances Hodgkins exhibition remains closed, let's hear Mary Kisler, its curator, reading a poem about one of the works that is in it.
First published as an occasional piece in Parson's Packet, the magazine published by Wellington bookseller Roy Parsons, it passes a savage commentary on the rejection of Pleasure Garden. It appeared in Fairburn's Collected Poems with this dry observation:
The Art Gallery Committee of the Christchurch City Council rejected 'The Pleasure Garden', by Frances Hodgkins, on the advice of three experts. (It was later bought by public subscription and now hangs, without much civic honour, in the MacDougall Gallery.)
Well it now hangs in our gallery with considerable honour but with the lights off and no visitors to see it. We long for this to change and continued hand-washing will hasten that happening.
Writer Margaux Warne had this to say about our Frances Hodgkins exhibition in the April issue of Artbeat. Sadly the exhibition is off-limits at the moment, but we are working hard on ways of bringing it to life online.
The work of an unstoppable traveller is taking Christchurch by storm in an exhibition following the adventurous life of Dunedin-born artist Frances Hodgkins.
Summer is here and it’s the perfect time to visit Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū. Experience incredible art, express your creativity through art courses and workshops, attend an artist talk, event or activity and explore your world in a new way through art.