Wayne Thompson

Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Maori portraits go on tour

Lindauer works which 'capture essence of Maori life' 100 years ago to be shown in Europe.

This portrait of Anehana from 1897 will be among the Lindauer paintings to be exhibited in Germany and the Czech Republic.
This portrait of Anehana from 1897 will be among the Lindauer paintings to be exhibited in Germany and the Czech Republic.

Auckland Art Gallery plans to tour portraits of Maori painted 100 years ago by Gottfried Lindauer to exhibitions in Germany and the Czech Republic.

Lindauer is renowned for his lifelike portraits and depictions of typical Maori scenes painted after he emigrated to New Zealand in 1873.

They caused a sensation at a time before colour photography.

One of the planned exhibitions will be in his birthplace of Pilsen, in the Czech Republic.

In total, 44 portraits from the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki will be toured with four portraits from Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa's collection.

It will be the first time the works have left New Zealand.

Auckland Art Gallery director Rhana Devenport said Lindauer's works and dignified subjects were among its most loved, with local and overseas visitors gravitating to the space permanently dedicated to showing the portraits.

Sharing these works would expand understanding and knowledge of New Zealand's unique culture.

Gallery Maori advisory group chairwoman Elizabeth Ellis said international recognition of the portraits was testament to the value of preserving and protecting Maori culture.

"These portraits are not only significant in terms of the artist's technical skills but also capture the essence of Maori life from that time, giving us a connection to our ancestors that would otherwise have been lost."

The paintings were donated to the gallery in 1915 by Auckland businessman Henry Partridge - on the condition that citizens raise 10,000 for the Belgian World War I refugee relief fund.

The record sale price for a privately owned Lindauer painting was $198,000, said Charles Ninow, of Webb's fine art auction house.

Lindauer trained at the Academy of Fine Art in Vienna.

In New Zealand, he travelled to Auckland, Nelson, Christchurch and Napier, and settled at Woodville, 25km east of Palmerston North, until his death in 1926.

Lindauer's art works
*Portraits of Maori painted 100 years ago by Gottfried Lindauer will go to exhibitions in Germany and the Czech Republic.
*44 portraits from the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki will be toured and four portraits from Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa's collection.
*The paintings were donated to the gallery in 1915 by Auckland businessman Henry Partridge.
*The record sale price for a privately owned Lindauer painting is $198,000.

- NZ Herald

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