Exhibition

Treasury: A Generous Legacy

18 December 2015 – 4 December 2016

Stunning proof of the impact of generosity on the Christchurch collection.

From its beginning, Christchurch’s public art collection has been largely formed through gifts and bequests by people motivated to share their enjoyment of art. The works in Treasury range from seventeenth-century Dutch paintings to Māori portraits and works by leading expatriate New Zealand artists. A third of the works shown here are from the founding collection of the Robert McDougall Art Gallery, the city's first purpose built public art museum, opened in 1932.

Related

Collection
Brigadier-General Alexander Walker of Bowland
Sir Henry Raeburn Brigadier-General Alexander Walker of Bowland

The 55-year-old Alexander Walker (1764–1831) and his wife Barbara (née Montgomery, 1770–1831) commissioned Scotland’s leading portraitist, Henry Raeburn, to paint their portraits in 1819. They had married eight years earlier; shortly after Alexander’s retirement from over thirty years’ service with the East India Company – mostly in India – and had two young sons. Alexander had one final Company role before him, that of Governor of St. Helena from 1823–28.

Two of their grandsons, William Campbell Walker and Alexander John Walker, immigrated to New Zealand in 1862 to farm in Canterbury; William later became Minister of Education. These impressive ancestral portraits were presented by descendants in 1984.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
The Physician
Gerrit Dou The Physician

Gerrit Dou was a leading figure in Dutch painting during the 1600s – a period often referred to as the Golden Age. A pupil of Rembrandt van Rijn, Dou favoured painting interior scenes and his work is renowned for its minute detail and immaculate finish. In The Physician a learned man examines the contents of a flask thought to contain urine, a test frequently used to diagnose pregnancy in the seventeenth century. Although it is a small painting, it is full of symbolism: the putti playing with a goat in the frieze represents sinful pleasure and the medical book opened on a page featuring a human skeleton leaning against a shovel represents a gravedigger, a memento mori, or reminder of our own mortality.

(New Dawn Fades, November 2018)

Notes
Making Ligurian Lace by H H La Thangue

Making Ligurian Lace by H H La Thangue

This article first appeared as 'Artist chased the sun for the right light, warmth' in The Press, 19 October 2016.

Notes
A Reading from Plato by Gertrude Hammond

A Reading from Plato by Gertrude Hammond

This article first appeared as 'Mulling matters of inequality' in The Press on 3 February 2015.

Notes
Cu

Cu

Notes
Quack doctor?

Quack doctor?

Gerrit Dou's The Physician is one of the most treasured works in the Gallery collection. An assault upon the good doctor's reputation was not expected.

Notes
Battle of Solebay

Battle of Solebay

Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Solebay, fought between the English and the Dutch in 1672.

Notes
Roundhill Estate

Roundhill Estate

If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it

Notes
Is there a doctor in the house?

Is there a doctor in the house?

Gerrit Dou's The Physician is a favourite work in our collection:

Notes
Empress Eugénie

Empress Eugénie

The Gallery library has received a new book about the art collection of Empress Eugénie, wife of Emperor Napoléon III.

Notes
The Watercolour Collection

The Watercolour Collection

The Gallery's Watercolour Collection had modest beginnings, but over the past 70 years it has grown steadily by gift and purchase and, of all the Collections, still maintains a largely traditional emphasis. When the Gallery opened in June 1932, just 28 of the 128 paintings on display were watercolours and, of these, 11 were by British artists and 17 by New Zealanders. Among the mostly nineteenth century British watercolours were those by Helen Allingham, Edgar Bundy, Matthew Hale, Laura Knight, William Lee Hankey and Ernest Waterlow. In contrast, the New Zealand watercolours were by mostly contemporary or early twentieth century artists and included works by James Cook, Olivia Spencer Bower, Margaret Stoddart, Maude Sherwood, Eleanor Hughes and Alfred Walsh. The foundation Watercolour Collection included two paintings of larger than usual dimensions. William Lee Hankey's We've been in the Meadows all day (1184 x 878mm) and Charles N. Worsley's Mount Sefton (996 x 1105mm) are still greater in scale than any other work in the Watercolour Collection.

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.

Article
Trove

Trove

Recounting the untold stories behind some of the works in the exhibition Treasury: A Generous Legacy, curator Ken Hall also underlines the value of art philanthropy.

Commentary
The wisdom of crowds

The wisdom of crowds

In recent years, crowdfunding and crowdsourcing have become big news in the arts. By providing a funding model that enables would-be-investors to become involved in the production of new works, they have altered traditional models of patronage. Musicians, designers, dancers and visual artists are inviting the public to finance their projects via the internet. The public are also being asked to provide wealth in the form of cultural capital through crowdsourcing projects. The Gallery has been involved in two online crowdfunding ventures – a project with a public art focus around our 10th birthday celebrations, and the purchase of a major sculpture for the city. But, although these projects have been made possible by the internet, the concept behind the funding model is certainly not new. The rise of online crowdfunding platforms also raises important questions about the role of the state in the funding and generation of artwork, and the democratisation of tastemaking. How are models of supply and demand affected? Does the freedom from more traditional funding models allow greater innovation? Do 'serious' artists even ask for money? It's a big topic, and one that is undoubtedly shaping up in PhD theses around the world already. Bulletin asked a few commentators for their thoughts on the matter.

 

Article
The East India Company man: Brigadier-General Alexander Walker

The East India Company man: Brigadier-General Alexander Walker

Getting to know people can take time. While preparing for a future exhibition of early portraits from the collection, I'm becoming acquainted with Alexander Walker, and finding him a rewarding subject. Painted in 1819 by the leading Scottish portraitist of his day, Sir Henry Raeburn, Walker's portrait is wrought with Raeburn's characteristic blend of painterly vigour and attentive care and conveys the impression of a well-captured likeness.

Collection
Ina te Papatahi, A Ngāpuhi Chieftainess
Charles Frederick Goldie Ina te Papatahi, A Ngāpuhi Chieftainess

Ina Te Papatahi (Te Ngahengahe, Ngāpuhi) was a niece of the prominent Ngāpuhi chiefs Eruera Maihi Patuone and Tāmati Waka Nene, both early signatories of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. Ina Te Papatahi lived at the Waipapa Māori hostel in Mechanic’s Bay, Auckland, not far from Charles Goldie’s Hobson Street studio. She sat for him many times and introduced him to many of his other Māori sitters. This likeness belongs to the period when Goldie started painting portraits of elderly Māori with moko, as both memorable subjects and “noble relics of a noble race”. It also reflects the impact of his four and a half years studying in Paris from 1893, where influences included the seventeenth-century Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn, whose portraits he studied and several times copied.

(He Waka Eke Noa, 18 February 2017 – 18 February 2018)

Collection
Pleasure Garden
Frances Hodgkins Pleasure Garden

This work was painted during a sketching trip to Bridgnorth, Shropshire in the summer of 1932. Its lively watercolour style and subject matter express Hodgkins’s characteristic interest in capturing the fleeting sensations of a moment.

Following her death in England, Pleasure Garden was one of six works by Hodgkins brought to Christchurch in 1948 at the request of the Canterbury Society of Arts. When the Society’s purchasing committee rejected the selection, a group of independent art supporters raised the purchase price and offered it to the city’s gallery, whose refusal generated metres of newspaper column displeasure and debate. In 1951 their persistence finally paid off.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
Glasgerion
George Sheridan Knowles Glasgerion

The Manchester-born painter and illustrator George Sheridan Knowles specialised in romantic history pieces and genre scenes. This work – exhibited at the Royal Academy, London in 1897 – was based on a tragic medieval ballad, in which Glasgerion, a king ’s son, has cast his troubadour spell over the court of the King of Normandy, in pursuit of his fair daughter. The story doesn’t end well.

This was one of six paintings imported from England to Christchurch by the Canterbury Society of Arts in 1903 for consideration to purchase; its acquisition was generously funded by the businessman and politician John T. Peacock (1827–1905). Glasgerion was presented to the city’s new gallery in 1932.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
In the Wizard’s Garden
George Leslie In the Wizard’s Garden

Narrative paintings such as In the Wizard’s Garden were extremely popular with Victorian audiences. Loaded with symbolism that referred to the notion of the fallen woman, the artist provided visual pointers to be unpicked and read by the audience. These include the hitched-up scarlet dress, the fallen leaves in the foreground and the shears which, shown with the blades open, suggest a loss of virtue. Contrasted with the innocence of the young woman, the presence of the silhouetted figure entering the garden adds a sinister element. The stream separating the two figures symbolises a barrier between them – her virtue hangs in the balance. Will she remain pure or will she, through the act of crossing the water, succumb to wantonness?George Dunlop Leslie was a successful, prolific artist who exhibited annually at the Royal Academy from 1859; usually theatrical, symbol-laden paintings of young women from a previous age.

(New Dawn Fades, November 2018)

Collection
Study (Woman in a Wide Black Hat)
Raymond McIntyre Study (Woman in a Wide Black Hat)

Arriving in London in 1909, the Christchurch-born and trained Raymond McIntyre soon gained a reputation there for his small, pared-back landscapes and studies of female heads, painted in an elegant, simplified, Japanese woodblock inspired style. This painting was modelled on an actor and dancer who became his principal muse from 1912, sometimes mentioned in his letters home: “The girl who is sitting for me a lot now, Sylvia Constance Cavendish… has a very refined interesting pale face… I have done some very good work from her… she is quite a find.”

McIntyre died in London in 1933. Seven of his works were given by his family between 1938 and 1991.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
King Tawhiao Potatau Te Wherowhero
Gottfried Lindauer King Tawhiao Potatau Te Wherowhero

The Vienna-trained, Bohemian-born artist Gottfried Lindauer arrived in New Zealand in 1874, and became famous for his portraits of eminent Māori. Lindauer painted several portraits of Tūkaroto Matutaera Pōtatau Te Wherowhero Tāwhiao (c. 1825–1894), the second Māori king, based on photographs by others. This painting is based on a studio portrait taken in 1884 by Australian photographer Henry King, during King Tāwhiao’s visit to Sydney while en route to England. Tāwhiao’s goal was to meet with and gain recognition from Queen Victoria of the Treaty of Waitangi and to redress the injustice of vast confiscations of Māori land, but did not meet with success.

(He Waka Eke Noa, 18 February 2017 – 18 February 2018)

Collection
Ruth
Raymond McIntyre Ruth

Arriving in London in 1909, the Christchurch-born and trained Raymond McIntyre soon gained a reputation there for his small, pared-back landscapes and studies of female heads, painted in an elegant, simplified, Japanese woodblock inspired style. This painting was modelled on an actor and dancer who became his principal muse from 1912, sometimes mentioned in his letters home: “The girl who is sitting for me a lot now, Sylvia Constance Cavendish… has a very refined interesting pale face… I have done some very good work from her… she is quite a find.”

McIntyre died in London in 1933. Seven of his works were given by his family between 1938 and 1991.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
A Hot Day. Wiremu Pātara Te Tuhi, Ngāti Mahuta
Charles Frederick Goldie A Hot Day. Wiremu Pātara Te Tuhi, Ngāti Mahuta

The Ngāti Mahuta chief Pātara Te Tuhi (c. 1824–1910) was a key leader in the Kīngitanga, the Māori King movement which aimed to unify Māori under a single sovereign. He was a newspaper publisher and secretary to his cousin King Tāwhiao, travelling with him to England in 1884 to seek recognition from Queen Victoria of the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi signed on her behalf. Pātara Te Tuhi first met Charles Goldie in 1901 and became a favourite, regular model. He also became increasingly well- known throughout New Zealand through the widespread reproduction of his painted and photographic portraits. Goldie attended Pātara Te Tuhi’s tangi in 1910, where two reproductions of this portrait were prominently displayed.

(He Waka Eke Noa, 18 February 2017 – 18 February 2018)

Collection
A Reading from Plato
Gertrude Demain Hammond A Reading from Plato

Gertrude Demain Hammond was a prolific London illustrator who was also active in exhibiting her watercolours. A Reading from Plato was shown at the Royal Academy in London in 1903 before coming to Christchurch for the 1906–07 New Zealand International Exhibition. There it was purchased by the avid local art collector James Jamieson, who with his brother William, ran one of the city’s largest construction companies.

Following his death in 1927, James’s family presented many works of art from his collection to become part of the Robert McDougall Art Gallery’s founding collection, which at its opening in 1932 consisted of 160 paintings and sculptures.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
Relaxation
Thomas Benjamin Kennington Relaxation

Thomas Benjamin Kennington’s focus as an artist was in the sympathetic depiction of the everyday reality of the poor and working classes. Born in Great Grimsby, a seaport town in England’s northeast, he studied art in Liverpool, London and Paris, and from 1880 exhibited annually at the Royal Academy, where this naturalistic workroom scene was shown in 1908.

Relaxation was exhibited at the 1911 International Exposition of Art in Rome and at the 1913 New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts exhibiton in Wellington. By 1920 it was in the hands of newspaper proprietor Robert Bell. Bell was president of the Canterbury Society of Arts from 1925–26, and bequeathed ten paintings to the gallery. (Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
Teresina
Lord Frederic Leighton Teresina

Teresina was one of four works shown by the leading British painter Frederic Leighton at the Royal Academy in London in 1876. His model was a young Italian woman in Rome, to where he habitually relocated from London each autumn. The name Teresina appears in a crowded notebook list of models sketched during his stay there in 1874. Italy became Leighton’s second home. He first visited Rome aged ten in 1840, when (for his mother’s health) the family left England for the Continent, spending time Germany, Switzerland and Italy. In Rome he took his first drawing classes, and (as an early biographer noted) ‘the buildings, the fountains, the ruins, the models awaiting hire on the Piazza di Spagna, fascinated him, and he filled many sketch-books with records of all the picturesque scenes that struck him as so new and wonderful.’ Leighton remained enamoured with Rome and with travel, finding subject-matter for his ambitious, classically-themed narrative paintings from multiple tours through Europe as well as visits to North Africa and the Holy Land.

(The Weight of Sunlight, 16 September 2017 - 16 September 2018)

Collection
Ana Reupene Whetuki and Child
Gottfried Lindauer Ana Reupene Whetuki and Child

Ana Reupene Whetuki from the Ngāti Maru iwi (tribe) was well- known in the Thames goldfields district in the Coromandel. She lived at Manaia, where her descendants still live today. Also known as Heeni Hirini and Ana Rupene, she was married to Reupene Whetuki, a Ngāti Maru rangatira (chief) who in 1881 was also listed as a gold miner and shareholder in ‘The Maori Win Gold Mining Company’. Gottfried Lindauer is known to have painted at least twelve versions of this portrait between 1878 and 1920. These were based on the photographic studio portrait by the Foy Brothers of Thames, which is also in this exhibition. Lindauer had first visited Thames in 1874 shortly after arriving in New Zealand from Bohemia (present day Czech Republic).

(He Waka Eke Noa, 18 February 2017 – 18 February 2018)

Collection
Girl with a Mask
William Powell Frith Girl with a Mask

Although apparently portraying a refined Venetian lady – a young woman with carnival mask, black veil and shawl – this work was painted not in Italy, but England. Yorkshire-born William Frith, who became extremely well-known for his large, densely populated panoramas of contemporary English life, also painted small costume studies early in his career, often modelled on literary figures. Frith’s model in this work, painted in 1846, strongly resembles his wife Isabelle (née Baker), whom he married in York in June 1845; Isabelle sat for him several times. Isabelle Frith became a close friend and confidante of Catherine Dickens, wife of author Charles, who (although a friend of her husband’s) she later banned from entering their London home; this following the 1858 breakup of the Dickens’ marriage. The Frith marriage was also ‘troubled’: Isabelle had 12 children to William from 1846–60; his mistress Mary Alford had six more to him from 1855. (He married Mary in 1881, a year after the death of Isabelle.)

(The Weight of Sunlight, 16 September 2017 - 16 September 2018)

Collection
The Black Hat
George Henry The Black Hat

In about 1901, having established a strong reputation with his painting in Scotland, the Glasgow-based George Henry relocated to London, where he began to establish a successful society portrait practice.

The Black Hat – possibly the work exhibited to acclaim as ‘La dame au chapeau noir’ at the Royal Glasgow Institute in 1904 – was one of twelve paintings selected in 1911 by the English artist Niels Lund to be purchased for the Canterbury Society of Arts. Its acquisition in 1912 was enabled through a newly agreed £50 annual subsidy from the Christchurch City Council; the society presented the painting to the city's new public gallery in 1932.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
A Wooded Landscape with Peasants on a Path and an Angler at a Stream
Meindert Hobbema A Wooded Landscape with Peasants on a Path and an Angler at a Stream

Meindert Hobbema’s exclusive focus on the countryside has been seen as relating to the extraordinary expansion of the Dutch nation’s towns and cities during his lifetime, which he spent in Amsterdam, and to urban art buyers’ newfound taste for idealised depictions of rural life. Although under-recognised in his own lifetime, Hobbema is now celebrated as one of the greatest landscape painters of the Dutch Golden Age. Born a carpenter’s son and living in an orphanage at age 15, Hobbema was apprenticed two years later to the landscape painter Jacob van Ruisdael – his most important influence. Hobbema liked to work with a continual rearrangement of a restricted group of elements. Nearly always, a large tree dominates the composition, with everything else – smaller trees, paths, pools and streams, decaying farmhouses or watermills – carefully placed, inviting the viewer to read and enter his pictures in layers.

(The Weight of Sunlight 16 September 2017 - 16 September 2018)

Collection
Unshatterable (Belgian Refugees)
Frances Hodgkins Unshatterable (Belgian Refugees)

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)

Collection
Soldiers in a Village
Joost Cornelisz Droochsloot Soldiers in a Village

Between 1618 and 1648, Europe was thrown into turmoil by the Thirty Years’ War – a bitter conflict that raged between Catholic and Protestant states. It was renowned for the vicious fighting often brought about by the large mercenary armies employed on both sides. Here, Droochsloot depicts the confiscations and pillaging by mercenary soldiers as they drive Dutch villagers from their homes.

(New Dawn Fades, November 2018)

Collection
The Age of innocence
Alfred Drury The Age of innocence

Modelled by Alfred Drury after a friend’s daughter in fancy dress, this wistful bronze bust is one of many variations of The Age of Innocence he made between 1897 and 1918; some in white marble. It is regarded as an important work in the British New Sculpture movement, whose followers sought either greater naturalism or symbolic qualities than had been found in the prevailing neoclassical approach.

Brought from England to Christchurch for the 1906–07 New Zealand International Exhibition, it was purchased by the Canterbury Society of Arts, and presented to the city in 1932 to become part of the Robert McDougall Art Gallery’s founding collection.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
Suzette
Raymond McIntyre Suzette

Arriving in London in 1909, the Christchurch-born and trained Raymond McIntyre soon gained a reputation there for his small, pared-back landscapes and studies of female heads, painted in an elegant, simplified, Japanese woodblock inspired style. These three paintings were modelled on an actor and dancer who became his principal muse from 1912, sometimes mentioned in his letters home: “The girl who is sitting for me a lot now, Sylvia Constance Cavendish… has a very refined interesting pale face… I have done some very good work from her… she is quite a find.”

McIntyre died in London in 1933. Seven of his works were given by his family between 1938 and 1991.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)