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, includes 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 the gift 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 then director, Chris Saines, the promised
gift's effect will be far-reaching, transforming Auckland's
ability to tell the story of modern art.
In 2006 we organised an exhibition of 12 works from the Julian
and Josie Robertson collection. 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 effect on the
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 the works to New Zealand and
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.'
We exhibited the 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