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Gallery showcases gifted McCahons

Media Release

Gallery showcases gifted McCahons

23 January 2002

A special Colin McCahon exhibition, titled Blind, opens at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery on the 16th of February showcasing the substantial collection of works by this major New Zealand artist that are cared for by the Gallery.

The exhibition runs until the 17th of March and follows an announcement by the Government late last year that it was gifting two works by McCahon to the Gallery. The two gifted works will feature alongside thirteen works by McCahon already in the Gallery’s collections.

The gifted works, entitled Blind III and Blind IV 1974, were offered to the Gallery as an outcome of a Government initiative to return to New Zealand artworks of major significance and value from its embassies overseas and offer them to public institutions in New Zealand. Two other major New Zealand paintings by Michael Illingworth and Sir Tosswill Woollaston were offered to the Gallery in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade initiative.

In its pre Christmas gift announcement the Government recognised the national repute of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery by stating that: “the Gallery has an outstanding reputation for creating exhibitions of contemporary art and for providing publications and forums where contemporary art can be considered and discussed.”

The two gifted works by McCahon date from the 1970s and are regarded as among his best by art historians. They were included in a major international exhibition at the prestigious Stedlijk Museum of Modern Art in Amsterdam in 1996.

Director of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, Greg Burke, said they were outstanding works, “Since the announcement of the Government’s very generous gift, the Gallery has moved quickly and made a four week gap in its programme to show the works alongside all the other McCahon works housed in the Gallery’s collections.”

This significant exhibition features major works from the Gallery’s McCahon holdings such as Hail Mary 1948, as well as intimate works on paper and also provides the first opportunity to view Blind III and Blind IV in their new home.

“This is a rare opportunity for our visitors and will not be repeated for at least three years as some of our McCahon works will be going out on loan to New Zealand and overseas museums during that time”, said Mr Burke.
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The Blind exhibition will also be the first time that the Gallery will exhibit another important work by Colin McCahon I am scared 1976. Well-known Wellington collectors Jim and Mary Barr recently deposited this work on long-term loan at the Gallery.

“The effects of acts of patronage like this are felt for generations”, said Mr Burke. “Witness Monica Brewster’s initial bequest, which included provision of funds for purchasing art works. Those early funds enabled the Gallery to acquire works by leading artists in the 1970s relatively cheaply. It is the main reason why we now have one of the largest public collections of McCahon’s work in the country”.

“In one sense the Government’s recent gift to the Govett-Brewster acknowledges the foresight and generosity of early patrons and donors”

In association with Blind, the Gallery will also show a number of important works from the 1960s and 1970s that complement and expand on McCahon’s style of abstraction. The exhibition, titled Contemporaries 1960-1979, profiles luminaries of New Zealand art history such as Gretchen Albrecht, Don Driver, Tony Fomison, Stephen Furlonger, Ralph Hotere, Milan Mrkusich, Don Peebles and Gordon Walters.


ENDS


For further information contact:

Greg Burke, Director
06 758 5149
025 241 0899

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