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Opening at Te Papa - New Zealand in Bloom

Friday 8 July 2005


Opening at Te Papa - New Zealand in Bloom: The commercial art of Bernard Roundhill

Discover the images that helped define New Zealand as a nation. Opening on July 16, this striking and nostalgic exhibition introduces the work of the founding father of commercial art in New Zealand, Bernard Roundhill.

Roundhill created some of our most recognisable brands in the 1950s and 1960s. From Skippy the Crest dog and the Innes Lemonade Girl to his vibrant images for Wattie’s, Crest, Craig’s, Winstones, and Yates, Roundhill’’s distinctive airbrush technique and eye for detail created an unmistakeably stylish look.

Altogether, New Zealand in Bloom: The commercial art of Bernard Roundhill tells the story of a changing nation and its early responses to the world of consumerism.

Roundhill began his career in Dunedin, working for manufacturers, before moving to an advertising agency in Auckland. During World War II, he worked for the New Zealand Army and Air Force, creating the comical Wing Commander Dimwit, whose mission was to demonstrate safety in the air.

Despite losing his job after the war, he established Roundhill Studios in Auckland which became the largest commercial art studio of its kind, working independently of the advertising agencies. Perhaps his most acclaimed work was the centrepiece for a 1956 publication on the history of transport called ‘Auckland 2000’, which reflected Roundhill’s search for the ideal.

But any New Zealander who stocked up at one of the new supermarkets of the time was bound to take home an image or two from the Roundhill studios.

Roundhill’s remarkable career extended more than 50 years to the mid-1980s. By the time he decided to close his business, computer wizardry was about to render the stylised airbrushed look obsolete. But two decades on the airbrush has come back into its own - in the hands of special effect artists in the film industry.

After his retirement in 1988, Roundhill was presented with the New Zealand Advertising Institute’s prestigious Gold Axis Award, in recognition of services to the industry. In 2002, Te Papa bought his personal archive of original work, and it is a selection from this unique record of advertising history that is on display in New Zealand in Bloom.

New Zealand in Bloom: The Commercial Art of Bernard Roundhill
Saturday 16 July 2005 to Sunday 15 January 2006
The Boulevard, Level 5
Free entry


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