Monday 12 January 2015
The achievements of New Zealand's most celebrated expatriate artist, Frances Hodgkins (1869-1947) will be at the world's fingertips, thanks to generous $136,000 funding from the Stout Trust.
The Stout Trust, a New Zealand philanthropic charitable trust, is funding Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki's initiative that will see the development of an online catalogue raisonné; a listing of all known artworks by Hodgkins. Launching in 2017, the online resource will provide the most comprehensive information and the latest research on Hodgkins to date, as well as images of the painter and her works sourced from around the world.
The Stout Trust, operated by Perpetual Guardian, supports charitable institutions concerned with New Zealand's environmental and cultural heritage, through the promotion, creation or preservation of visual, audio and literary works of art.
'The website will not only provide the most complete database of Hodgkins' work, but will also offer a research repository of national and international significance,' says Auckland Art Gallery Director Rhana Devenport. 'The foresight and generosity of the Stout Trust are instrumental in preserving the work of this New Zealand artist and bringing her profound contribution to art to new audiences here and around the world.'
Hodgkins first left New Zealand in 1901 and travelled extensively through England, France, Italy, Morocco, Belgium and Holland. In Paris, Hodgkins observed and absorbed the different modernist ideas and artistic movements that emerged in France from the mid-19th century onwards, that were to have ramifications for artists worldwide. Highly regarded for her artistic achievements, Hodgkins was one of the artists selected to represent Great Britain at the 1940 Venice Biennale (although the exhibition was cancelled with the onset of World War II).
The project is being led by Auckland Art Gallery Senior Curator, Mackelvie Collection, International Art Mary Kisler, and the Gallery's E H McCormick Research Library Manager Catherine Hammond. Their initial research trip to view archives in London was supported by the Auckland branch of the Decorative and Fine Arts Societies of New Zealand. In addition, various branches of the Society are funding the digitisation of Hodgkins' letters which are held at the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington.
A major exhibition and accompanying book on Frances Hodgkins is also scheduled for 2017. Curated and written by Mary Kisler, the exhibition and its publication,Locating Frances Hodgkins, will focus on the importance of place in Hodgkins' later modernist work, as well as the influences of leading European modernists, such as Georges Braque and Henri Matisse. With the Stout Trust's support, 2017 will see a richly informed focus on the life and work of New Zealand's most famous expatriate artist.