Louise Henderson: From Life


exhibition Details


Louise Henderson: From Life is the first major survey of work by French-born, New Zealand artist Louise Henderson (1902–1994).  Featuring work from across Henderson’s seven-decade career, the exhibition traces the development of the artist’s bold and colourful abstract style.

In 1925, Henderson emigrated to Christchurch to join her husband, a New Zealander, and quickly established herself as a central figure in the local art scene. She would go on to work alongside major figures including Rita Angus, John Weeks, Colin McCahon and Milan Mrkusich. Henderson was one of the first New Zealand artists to commit herself to an overtly modern style, but despite her prominence, there has been no comprehensive survey of her work until now.

Louise Henderson: From Life reappraises Henderson’s remarkable and complex practice, exploring the evolution of her art and the periods she spent working in Paris, Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland and the Middle East.

The exhibition includes early watercolours of the Canterbury landscape, abstracted still-life compositions, sensuous Cubist representations of the female figure and lyrical explorations of the New Zealand bush. It culminates with the monumental series The Twelve Months, an ambitious undertaking that Henderson completed when she was 85 years old.

Published on the occasion of the exhibition, a substantial publication on the artist’s life’s work will share new research into Henderson’s complex and wide-reaching career.

Louise Henderson: From Life has been jointly developed by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū. The exhibition was co-curated by Felicity Milburn and Lara Strongman (Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū), and Julia Waite (Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki). It will open in Christchurch in June 2020.

Image credits:
Louise Henderson in her studio with Home in Dieppe 1957, circa 1957. 

Louise Henderson, Cubist still life, 1954. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2019.

Louise Henderson, January 1987. Private collection, Auckland.

Louise Henderson, Garden, 1977. Private collection, Wellington


Curated by
Felicity Milburn and Lara Strongman (Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū), and Julia Waite (Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki).
Auckland Art Gallery