More than 200 people attended the official opening on Friday of a unique exhibition of recently uncovered artworks from the 97-year-old Sarjeant Gallery.

Cabinet Minister Chris Finlayson came to the city to open the exhibition, Revealed, as well as a second exhibition, See What I Can See: Discovering New Zealand Photography.

The 40 works on display range from European paintings and prints spanning close to 300 years of art history, to Jacobean style tapestry and specially crafted wooden children's toys used in the gallery in the 1970s.

They are among several thousand works that were revealed last year when the art collection was rehoused from the basement of the heritage gallery building to the temporary gallery. The exhibitions will be on display until September 18.