9 October 2014
This Saturday 11 October 2014, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki will host a historic gathering as descendants of the painter Gottfried Lindauer, his patron Henry Partridge and his Māori sitters come together to farewell a collection of important 19th-century portraits.
The landmark occasion acknowledges the departure of 48 Māori portraits by the late 19th-century painter, Gottfried Lindauer, as they tour to be exhibited in Berlin, Germany and Pilsen, Czech Republic. The farewell event will acknowledge the significance of this milestone in the life of the artworks, and the first departure of the collection of works from New Zealand shores in over 100 years.
Descendants of the subjects of the paintings will gather at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki alongside descendants of Lindauer and those of Auckland businessman Henry Partridge who commissioned the works and donated the collection to the gallery in 1915. Gallery Director, Rhana Devenport and her team will welcome the descendant communities early Saturday morning, providing them with an opportunity to meet, exchange stories and farewell the taonga on its momentous journey.
'As taonga, these paintings have priceless cultural value for New Zealand and even more significance for the descendants of the subjects, the artist and his benefactor,' says Devenport. 'We have established relations with the descendant communities over many years, and this event presents a valuable opportunity to connect the portraits with the living relatives for whom they have particular resonance. It's not just a part of the history of these artworks, but also a chance to acknowledge their on-going importance in a modern context.'
The Nationalgalerie (National Gallery), part of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin), will present an exhibition focused on Lindauer's portraits at the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery) from 20 November 2014 to 12 April 2015. The portraits will then travel on from Berlin to Lindauer's birthplace of Pilsen for another exhibition from May until July 2015 at the Západočeská galeriev Plzni (Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen).
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki holds 63 Lindauer portraits in the Partridge Collection, of which 44 will be presented in both Berlin and Pilsen, along with four portraits from Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa's collection.
- ENDS -
This project is undertaken in partnership with Toi Māori Aotearoa - Māori Arts New Zealand.
About the Nationalgalerie: Verein der Freunde der Nationalgalerie www.freunde-der-nationalgalerie.de, Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery), Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin) www.smb.museum/en/home.html
About the Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen: www.zpc-galerie.cz
About Gottfried Lindauer (1839-1926):
Gottfried Lindauer was born in Pilsen, Bohemia, trained at the Academy Fine Arts in Vienna and immigrated to New Zealand in 1873. He became renowned for his portraits of Māori and depictions of Māori life at a time when it was incorrectly thought Māori were dying out. Lindauer travelled extensively around New Zealand, notably Auckland, Nelson, Christchurch and Napier. He returned to Britain for an exhibition in London in 1886 but settled down at Woodville, north of Wellington, where he died in 1926.
About the Partridge Collection:
The Lindauer paintings were donated to Auckland Art Gallery in 1915 by Auckland businessman Henry Partridge on the proviso that the people of Auckland raise ₤10,000 for the Belgian refugee relief fund. The money was raised and the paintings became known as the Partridge Collection. The Partridge Collection comprises 70 paintings of which there are 62 portraits and eight paintings depicting scenes from Māori life at the time.
About Gottfried Lindauer's celebrated 19th century Māori portraits:www.lindaueronline.co.nz - this site is also a repository for the stories of the descendant communities.