Pat Hanly

Pastoral V

Pastoral V by Pat Hanly

Artwork Detail

In Pat Hanly’s whimsical Pastoral V a female nude lies on the grass while her suitor hovers in the trees above. The pastoral theme conveys longing for a simpler life and connection with nature and has a long history in visual art, literature, and music. It was also a subject favoured by modern artists, including painters Paul Cézanne, Marc Chagall, and Henri Matisse. Hanly visited a Chagall exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in 1959 where he was struck by the artist’s handling of the figure, his electric sense of colour, and poetical approach. Although it was created early in Hanly’s career, Pastoral V is no outlier and instead establishes themes that would become central to the artistic practice, including nature and the garden, the female nude, and human relationships. Painted in London, Pastoral V also reveals Hanly’s desire to escape the pressures of a large modern city for the lush and peaceful refuge of the countryside. Travel was critical for Hanly’s development, but in a few short years after he completed this painting it was time to return home. Back in New Zealand, Hanly became a leading colourist whose paintings of protest and personal relationships convey energy, vitality, and dynamism. Architect and collector Ron Sang identified Hanly’s contribution to the history of New Zealand art, arguing for the way his art ‘heralded new ways of thinking about this country – as a nation that belonged to the young and adventurous, to the dreamers, and to those who could see the vital place the island nation could have within Polynesia and the broader Pacific.’

Pastoral V
Pat Hanly
Production date
oil on hardboard
725 x 1141 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Dick and Phyllis Ross, 2023
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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