Seeking Modernity


exhibition Details

Seeking Modernity features examples of European modern art by international artists including Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Roderick O'Conor, as well key works by New Zealand expatriates Frances Hodgkins and Francis McCracken.

The period from 1860 to 1960 was a time of profound transformation in the world of art, with the emergence of avant-garde groups eager to explore different approaches to colour, form, composition and art materials. The light-filled delicacy of Impressionism looked demure against the bold colours and dynamic brushstrokes of the Fauves and Post-Impressionists, and the fractured world of the Cubists.

Revolutionary approaches to landscape painting emerged, led by Édouard Manet, Claude Monet and the Impressionists who now painted en plein air (out of doors) using new portable tubes of paint. As well as studying the effects of light, modernists captured ordinary working people going about their daily lives, whether serving in a bar, or picking potatoes in a field.

For much of the period, Paris remained the dynamic and creative hub of modernism. Artists, writers and musicians flocked to the French capital, determined to be a part of this creative revolution. Among them were a number of New Zealanders who made Europe their home. Others only stayed briefly before returning to New Zealand, where they startled the more conservative critics with their determinedly modernist approach to art.

Includes works by Alexander Archipenko, Maurice Denis, Jacob Epstein, Robert N. Field, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Duncan Grant, Rhona Haszard, Barbara Hepworth, Aristide Maillol, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, John Weeks and others.

Curated by
Mary Kisler
Level 1
Free entry

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