The Fine Arts Collection is made up of paintings, works on paper and sculpture and has over 2,000 items. It is a distinctive collection representing New Zealand and British art with small holdings of Canadian and Australian work.
There are two specialist collection strengths. The first is early New Zealand modernism 1925-1950. Central to this collection are key works including Roland Hipkins’ Dalton Street Backyards and Renaissance; Christopher Perkins’ Portrait of Annette Stiver; R. N. Field’s Still Life Gabriel’s Trumpet; and A Lois White’s Victims of Invasion.
The second is New Zealand art 1970-1990. This includes important works like Tony Fomison’s Omai and Agony in the Garden; Dead Kings – the Open Grave and Dead Kings – New Monuments by Gavin Chilcott; Richard McWhannell’s View of Auckland; Terry Stringer’s Hilda in her 30s Cloche Hat and Egyptian Souvenir; and Apollinaire at 21 by Dick Frizzell.
There are other key areas of New Zealand art in the Fine Arts Collection. These include paintings from the period 1840-1918 by artists including Major General Horatio Gordon Robley, Joseph Annabell, Charles Frederick Goldie, Gottfried Lindauer and Walter Bowring.
The 20th Century New Zealand print collection includes works by Rata Lovell-Smith, Maud Sherwood and E. Mervyn Taylor. Hawke’s Bay art 1950-1980 is a strength, with holdings by Louis Theakstone, Edgar Mansfield, Geoffrey Fuller, Bryan Dew and Don Ramage.
New Zealand landscape and figurative modernism 1950-1970 is represented through works by Rita Angus, Evelyn Page, Jan Nigro, Eric Lee-Johnson, Peter McIntyre, Margot Philips, Mountford Tosswill Woollaston, Louise Henderson, Don Binney and Brent Wong. New Zealand expressionism includes works by Tony Fomison, Philip Clairmont, Allen Maddox, Philippa Blair, Richard McWhannell, Gavin Chilcott, Rodney Fumpston, and Terry Stringer. The collection also has strong holdings of Dick Frizzell paintings and prints.
The Fine Arts collection includes sculpture from the 1990s by Andrew Drummond, Jacqueline Fraser, Elizabeth Thompson, Jeff Thompson, Paul Dibble and Lauren Lysaght.
The pre-1918 holdings include artists like Wenceslaus Hollar, Sir George Clausen and Sir William Russell Flint. British modernism to 1918-1950 has holdings of Paul Nash, John Piper, Wyndham Lewis, Gertrude Hermes and Robert Gibbings, as well as ex-patriot New Zealand artists Frances Hodgkins and Felix Kelly.
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