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.
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
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