Exhibition

Reading the Swell

3 September 2016 – 6 February 2017

Drawing its inspiration from the sea, this exhibition highlights the Gallery's collection of maritime paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and ceramics, alongside scrimshaw from Canterbury Museum's collection.

Views from the safe confines of the harbour are displayed alongside vivid images of ships braving wild storms and disasters on the high seas. Several artists explore the idea of being lost at sea, through literary classics Moby Dick and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Historical favourites by the likes of John Gibb and Petrus van der Velden hang alongside more modern artists such as Tony Fomison, Olivia Spencer Bower and Max Gimblett but all draw their inspiration from the sea.

Related

Exhibition
Ship Songs

Ship Songs

A small but poetic exhibition looking at early European and Māori representations of seafaring vessels, with the Charlotte Jane as a focal point.

Commentary
Reading the Swell

Reading the Swell

The art of the sea has always been the art of vastness—without edges and with potential for infinite extension. It is this immensity that has invaded the Reading the Swell exhibition; finding its way through the automatic doors when no one is looking and quietly expanding the walls. Like sailors, artists have laid soundings in this uncharted vastness. Reading the Swell is a small and pointed selection of those soundings that see fit to make sense of the sea.

Collection
The Leuvehaven, Rotterdam
Petrus van der Velden The Leuvehaven, Rotterdam
Petrus van der Velden’s training as a lithographer paid dividends when the artist decided to paint full-time in 1867, the same year this painting was completed. As a lithographer, van der Velden's attention to detail was paramount – a skill he brought to the keenly observed and painted ships of his maritime subjects. The docks and waterway of the Leuvehaven are bustling with ships being loaded and unloaded with cargo before setting out from safe waters for the high seas. Today, Rotterdam is still one of the busiest ports in the world. (Reading the Swell 3 September 2016 – 6 February 2017)
Collection
Moonlight
Julius Olsson Moonlight
This work depicts St Ives Bay. To the right is Godrevy lighthouse.
Collection
Lyttelton Harbour, N.Z. Inside the Breakwater
John Gibb Lyttelton Harbour, N.Z. Inside the Breakwater
As with Petrus van der Velden’s The Leuvehaven, this painting by John Gibb provides a view of a bustling port where ships come and go, unloading and loading their cargo. By 1886, when this painting was completed, the town of Lyttelton / Ōhinehou had been settled by pākehā for just over thirty-six years, and the port had become one of New Zealand’s busiest. Lyttelton Harbour / Whakaraupō provided welcome refuge for ships from the Pacific Ocean beyond the harbour heads, particularly once the breakwater had been completed. Gibb's painting shows fishing boats, sailing and steam ships, a launch and even a rowboat plying the sheltered waters of the harbour, busily going about their business. It was first shown at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 1886, where it would have served well in promoting the progressive industriousness of the port and the prosperity of the Canterbury Province to an international audience. (Reading the Swell 3 September 2016 – 6 February 2017)
Notes
Moonlight by Julius Olsson

Moonlight by Julius Olsson

This article first appeared as 'Artist left all at sea by changing tides' in The Press on 6 December 2016

Notes
The Sloping Deck

The Sloping Deck

Although one of the smallest oil paintings in the permanent collection William Wyllie's The Sloping Deck is a powerful and terrifying image of a ship being wrecked on rocks.

Notes
The Leuvehaven, Rotterdam by Petrus van der Velden

The Leuvehaven, Rotterdam by Petrus van der Velden

This article first appeared as 'Lost painting found' in The Press on 2 November 2012.

Notes
Then and now

Then and now

Last year the Gallery acquired this magnificent early work by Petrus van der Velden:

Notes
New van der Velden painting on display

New van der Velden painting on display

Visitors to the Gallery will soon have the chance to see one of Petrus van der Velden's earliest works.