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Timely exhibition 1987 World Cup rugby paintings


Timely exhibition of 1987 World Cup rugby paintings

A timely exhibition of 1987 World Cup rugby paintings and historic New Zealand rugby photos opens in Auckland next week.

One of New Zealand’s leading art galleries, Ferner Galleries, announced the exhibition today as the All Blacks flew to Australia to set up their World Cup base in Melbourne.

The acrylic on canvas rugby paintings, to be exhibited at Ferner’s Auckland city gallery, are by Australian social realist painter Roy Dalgarno and will be on show from October 14 to November 8.

Dalgarno, studied in Paris and India and lived in Auckland from 1975 until his death, at the age of 91, in 2001.

The acrylic on canvas rugby paintings feature All Blacks, Australian, French and other teams which competed in the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup.

His wife, Anna Dalgarno, said her husband knew nothing of rugby when he was told to ‘sit and watch’ the first World Cup tournament.

“I wonder what is happening, there’s no-one in Parnell Road?” Dalgarno was reported to have said. “Well I suppose if I live in a rugby country, I should know something about it”.

The resulting series of 1987 paintings were not completed until1991. They range from $18,000 to $25,000. The works belong to the artist’s estate – his family.

Dalgarno was born in Melbourne and his sympathies were with the trade unions and those who worked in the hard dirty jobs of industry. During that time he made many drawings of miners, wharfies, and steel workers and those social realist drawings provided the basis of some of his future work.

At Broken Hill he was commissioned to execute a series of drawings and to illustrate a book on the history of the mines. More recent work is part of the continuing interest of the artist in people at work. His humanist works are seen in public galleries throughout Australia and New Zealand.

After his arrival in New Zealand in 1975 he established himself as one of the elder statesmen of art in Auckland. As well as exhibitions he also taught young artists and served on bodies connected with art administration such as the Auckland Society of Arts and The Society of Sculptors, Painters and Associates. The photographs in the Ferner Galleries rugby exhibition show the Grafton team who were the 1902 winners of the first Auckland Junior Championship, a very early Nelson College 1st XV, a 19th century NZRFU team, early but no date, and the 1903 annual match between Wanganui College and Wellington College Old Boys.

Also featured are very early victorious All Blacks team and the NZ Maori rugby side’s first tour match at Richmond against the Surrey Club in 1888.

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