- Leo Bensemann
- East Road, Takaka, Nelson
- Oil on canvas board
- 60 x 83cm
SUMMER CATALOGUE 2013-2014
Dates: 4 Dec, 2013 - 28 Feb, 2014
PREVIEW: Wednesday 4TH December 2.30pm – 5pm
We are pleased to present our Summer Catalogue for 2013/2014 where once again we present a wide variety of original NZ artworks from artists and various collections throughout NZ. Favoured with instructions from a prominent NZ collector based in the USA we also offer several NZ paintings for the first time on the secondary market.[read more]
It is interesting to observe the paintings in this exhibition from various eras which in part plot the course of NZ art history and the various styles and genres which developed.
An early colonial NZ artwork included in the exhibition depicts St Johns College, Meadowbank, Auckland, prior to the 1850’s. This small village was moved to the present sight in St Johns Road in the early 1850’s. Very few, if any paintings or sketches exist of the original village. This painting from the Orakei Basin area looking west towards Remuera is illustrated in the book “Through Ninety Years” written by Frederick Williams in 1939 and is believed to have been originally in the possession of William Leonard Williams who was the Archdeacon of St Johns College at the time the village was moved. It is a shame the artist is unknown however it has been suggested the artist could have been Charles Blomfield or Samuel Stuart but at this stage this cannot be confirmed. Being painted in monochrome it likely the painting was based on a very early photograph or sketch although at this stage not even a photograph can be unearthed.
The early 1900’s painting by Minnie White (1891 – 1984) is a fine example of NZ’s “en plein air” style which was promoted in NZ by artists such as Girolamo Nerli, James Nairn and Edward Fristrom. Minnie White studied under Fristrom at Elam in the early part of the 20th century and won awards for her semi-impressionist style. Her work “Prospect Tavern, Howick, was featured in a 1930’s edition of Art in NZ, and other paintings were featured more recently in an issue of Art NZ magazine. Minnie White painted in Auckland and Dunedin and this scene is probably either near Howick, Auckland or somewhere in Dunedin. Any further information will be gladly received. Minnie White is represented in most public collections including the Auckland Art Gallery and the Hocken.
A cluster of NZ artists prominent in the contemporary and ground breaking art movement of the 1950’s also feature in this catalogue. Three artists who shunned the more acceptable “Kelliher” style of art were Toss Woollaston, Kase (Kerry) Jackson and Keith Patterson. Woollaston needs no introduction and a very fine example of his work “Farm Shed Upper Moutere” is included in the show. A well-known artist in the 1950’s was abstract and cubist artist Kase Jackson. Jackson was considered a leading contemporary artist in the 1950’s and was one of the first artists along with Colin McCahon and Louise Henderson to feature in a group show of modern art work at the Auckland Art Gallery (Object Image 1954). Jackson’s cubist works are the subject of an essay by Dr Michael Dunn in Art NZ issue #60. This painting “Red, Gold, Blue” was featured and purchased from a retrospective of Jackson’s work held in our gallery in 1989. It was originally exhibited at one of the first Auckland dealer galleries “The Gallery” run by Frank Lowe and Don Wood in 1960. According to the artist (In discussion with the writer in 1988) this painting pays homage to the fighter pilots and planes of the RNZAF. The red, white and blue roundels from the wings have been abstracted into irregular patterns and shapes which refer to dicing fighter planes, in particular spitfires of #19 squadron. The original exhibition label remains on the reverse of the painting, one which would make a fine addition to a private or public collection.
A contemporary of Jackson’s was Keith Patterson (1925 -1994) and he also exhibited a small retrospective show at the Gallery in the early 1990’s along with three shows of new work painted at his studio in Oratia. Patterson was also a noted cubist influenced artist in the 1950’s and a major work from his Window Series (Golden Afternoon Window, 1960) is in the collection of the Auckland Art Gallery. Michael Smither credits Patterson with providing the original inspiration for his now classic figurative interior series of paintings. Patterson’s work developed eventually into more abstract paintings and assemblages which incorporated demolition timber including windows, dinghy parts, oars, rope, nets and shells. Pakiri became a favourite haunt of Patterson’s during his trips to NZ in the early 1990’s and the work “Paddle at Pakiri” is one of the feature works purchased from the original 1990’s exhibition.
During the 1960’s an artist based in Christchurch who merited attention was Trevor Moffitt (1936-2006). He was one of the first NZ painters to seriously commit to narrative and figurative paintings concerning the iconic New Zealand culture and “DIY “way of life. “My Father “series, comprising over 100 works based on the life of his father,are now recognised as significant and important art works which record our unique history and way of life. The painting “Goodbye” (1980) from the same series recently sold (Webb’s Auctions 2013) for over $50,000 at Auction. The painting “Prospecting (2) from the same series, is a painting which depicts Moffitt’s father panning for gold. This painting is not to be confused with the earlier “Miner Series” which are somewhat more impressionistic in style. One of the greatest compliments Moffitt received was when celebrated NZ artist Ralph Hotere stated “Moffitt paints 10 miles, with a single brushstroke”.
Five other noted South Island artists included in this exhibition are Philip Trusttum, Eion Stevens, Jenny Rendall,Justin Summerton, and Nigel Brown.
A Nigel Brown painting from the Pacific series “Concern at Cooks remoteness” (1995) has been shipped by a collector from New York. This originates from a comprehensive series Brown completed during the 1990’s which refers to the dynamics of colonialism and post colonialism, based around the arrival of Captain Cook. In Greg O’Brien’s book “Lands and Deeds” (Godwit 1996) Brown stated “the idea of two cultures ‘discovering’ each other is just as relevant and important now as it was then”.
Fine new works of note also included in the catalogue have been submitted by Philippa Blair, Amy Melchior, Mark Wooller, Robyn Gibson, and Grant Corbishley including works from other collections and estates.
All works are available for immediate sale.
Warwick Henderson 2013
Further Reading and References
“Through Ninety Years” Frederick William, Pub Whitcombe&Tombs 1939
Minnie White, Essay by Leo King, Pub Art New Zealand
“Hard Case Jackson’s Kiwi Cubism”, essay by Michael Dunn, Art New Zealand #60
“Michael Smither An Introduction”, Pub GB Gallery 1984
“Lands and Deeds”, Greg O’Brien - Trevor Moffitt “Human Condition”, Godwit 1996
“Lands and Deeds”, Greg O’Brien – Nigel Brown “Potted Histories”, Godwit 1996