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Huakina He taonga mai i Te Papa – Treasures from Te Papa

10 March 2014


Huakina He taonga mai i Te Papa – Unpacked Treasures from Te Papa

Edward Poynter’s painting Asterié (1904), a beautiful portrait made by one of the most successful Victorian artists of his day, will be the second art work to feature at the Whangarei Art Museum from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa art collection opening 17 March 2014.

A space at Whangarei Art Museum dedicated to showcasing key pieces from the national collection launched with great success in December last year.

Te Papa and the Whangarei Art Museum worked together on the rotating program of art, which will feature a different work in the space every three

Edward Ponyter’s Asterié is the next art work to feature in the space, depicting the story from Roman poet Horace’s Odes. The painting ponders on the moral questions of infidelity, as Asterié is shown gazing down into the street below – serenaded by an admirer while her lover is away. The carnations symbolise fidelity, appealing to the early 20th Century social values of chastity and self-denying virtue.

Such neoclassical portraits based on a revival of the ancient Greek and Roman arts were popular with British as well as New Zealand audiences. Asterié is a stunning example of Poynter’s mastery in the genre, first exhibited in New Zealand at the Christchurch International Exhibition in 1906.

The other paintings still to feature in the space will include work by prominent New Zealand artists: “Rita Angus’s painting Fay and Jane Birkinshaw (1938) is a striking work of international significance, and Rozzie at Pisa (1978) is by Grahame Sydney, a modern artist whose work spans more than four decades.” – Rebecca Rice, Curator Historical New Zealand Art, Te Papa.

After the success of the first work to go on display, The Blowing Up of the Boyd (1889) by Louis John Steele and Kennett Watkins, the rotating arts program continues to offer Northlanders with the unique opportunity to see major works from the national collection at the Whangarei Art Museum.


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