Julian and Josie Robertson Collection

This promised gift of 15 works of art to the Gallery through its Foundation, from New York art collectors and philanthropists Julian and Josie Robertson, represents some of the major European artists of the modern era.

Overview

Dating from the late 19th to mid 20th centuries, its art historical and cultural value places it among the most generous philanthropic acts in New Zealand history.

The gift is drawn from a private collection that largely focuses on modernist works. While frequently called on to lend to art museums, this is the first time the Robertsons have gifted work. Selected by the Gallery's director, the gift's effect will be far-reaching, transforming Auckland's ability to tell the story of modern art.

In 2006 the Auckland Art Gallery organised an exhibition of 12 works from the Julian and Josie Robertson collection, also shown at Te Papa in Wellington. Six of those works are included in the gift. The overwhelming response to that exhibition, much of it from young visitors, had a profound and lasting affect on the Robertsons.

Julian and Josie Robertson have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with this country and want New Zealanders to enjoy works of art of a kind usually only experienced in this number through travelling to the major museums of Europe and the United States. This gift enables them to give something meaningful back to a country they love.

The Robertsons said, "We have had a lifelong love affair with New Zealand. We love Auckland. And we love these pictures. That's why we were so pleased when we brought these works to New Zealand that New Zealanders seemed to enjoy them as much as we do. Frankly, bringing the pictures was probably the most appreciated thing we have ever done. We are delighted to be able to make this gift."

The entire Julian and Josie Robertson Promised Gift was exhibited from 3 September to 30 October 2011 in celebration of the Gallery's reopening.

Auckland Art Gallery Director Chris Saines said, "This will be the first and only occasion the Robertson gift will be seen in Auckland, in its entirety, until such time as the 15 works are finally settled on the Gallery under the terms of the deed of promised gift."

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    Promised Gift on show

    Newly refurbished areas of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki returned to the care of its staff today, after three years with Hawkins Construction. At the handover, it was announced the Gallery - on its opening day of Saturday 3 September 2011 - will exhibit for the first time the entire Julian and Josie Robertson Promised Gift.

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