Louise Henderson: A Life in Archives


exhibition Details

Explore the archives of Louise Henderson (1902–1994) in the latest exhibition on view in our E H McCormick Research Library Display Case. In 2018 the Dame Louise Henderson Trust kindly loaned the Gallery her archive. This and other archives provide fascinating details of Henderson’s significant career. 

Louise Henderson was an archivist in spirit. Her collection of diaries and notebooks spans over 40 years and provides evidence of an abiding interest in her geographic and cultural surroundings. A page listing te reo Māori words, for example, was written soon after she emigrated from France in 1925.

She kept official documents, such as expired passports and educational certificates, which are ‘gold’ to a fact-checking biographical researcher. Her correspondence – not only with her family but also painter friends – records her descriptions, thoughts and feelings about daily life as well as her progression as an artist.

Ephemera and press clippings, including the Scrapbook she compiled from 1932 to 1993, attest to the wide range of her practice – from textile and tapestry designs to the works on paper and paintings for which she is more well-known. They record career milestones, including key exhibitions and the awarding of a DBE for services to art in 1993.

Photographic portraits, such as those included in the exhibition, reflect the interest fellow artists had in attempting to capture the complexity and dynamism of this pioneering New Zealand modernist painter.

The first major survey of work spanning across Henderson’s seven-decade career is on display in the coinciding exhibition Louise Henderson: From Life at the Gallery until Sun 8 Mar 2020. 

Image Credit:           

Louise Henderson photographed by Marti Friedlander, 1968. Marti Friedlander Archive, on loan from the Gerrard and Marti Friedlander Charitable Trust.Image courtesy of the Gerrard and Marti Friedlander Charitable Trust.    

Curated by
Caroline McBride and Tamsyn Bayliss
Research Library Display Case Mezzanine level

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