John Weeks (1886-1965) Works Selected from the Permanent Collection

This exhibition is now closed

In 1947 John Weeks wrote:- "I believe that it is necessary to make endless experiments into the possibilities of various mediums, using pencil for its silver-like qualities, pastel for delicacy, watercolour for transparency and freedom of brushwork, tempera for luminosity and oil for power".[1]

This exhibition of 35 works drawn mostly from the gallery's reserve collection reveals how effective Weeks was in being able to put these words into practice and the level of versatility and creativity he was capable of when using whatever medium he chose.

Few artists of his generation in New Zealand painting could be said to have had the same catalytic creative impact on at least two generations of the artists who passed through Elam School of Art in Auckland. Weeks' work was a bridge in New Zealand to the modern movement in Europe, in particular the artists of the 'School of Paris' and during the 1920's and 40's it had in Auckland the same effect that Sydney Thompson's brand of Impressionism could be said to have had in Canterbury a decade earlier. What Weeks brought back to New Zealand with him in 1929 was a positive sense of the value of good design and a harmony of means of the elements of art.

His example gave a lead to younger N.Z. artists of vision. By the 1950's this example had made its mark and they were well on the road to greater understanding and acceptance of the modern movement, and many were confident enough to cope with the wave of International abstraction when it hit.

[1] Howard Wadman (Ed) - Yearbook of the Arts 1947 p.30

  • Date:
    1 October – 15 November 1987
  • Exhibition number: