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Picasso, Dalí, Derain, Braque, Matisse on display

Auckland City Council

Media release

6 November 2009

Picasso, Dalí, Derain, Braque, Matisse now on display at the Auckland Art Gallery

Five paintings, never before seen in New Zealand, were welcomed to Auckland today in an event held to thank the philanthropists who are gifting them to the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki.

Now it is the public’s turn to see these priceless works of art for free. They will be on display between Saturday, 7 and Friday, 13 November at the Auckland Art Gallery, corner Wellesley and Lorne streets,as a preview of The Julian and Josie Robertson Promised Gift.

In May 2009, Auckland Art Gallery announced a promised gift of 15 works of art through its Foundation, including paintings by Cézanne, Picasso, Matisse, Gauguin and Mondrian from  New York art collectors and philanthropists Julian and Josie Robertson. The exhibition is an exclusive preview of part of that collection.

The five works were the backdrop for a luncheon held by Mayor of Auckland City, the Honourable John Banks, to formally thank the Robertsons for their generosity.

“This is the most valuable and prestigious gift ever made to an art museum in Australasia,” said Mayor of Auckland City John Banks. “The art represents some of the major European artists of the modern era, dating from the late 19th to mid 20th centuries. The art’s historical and cultural value places it among the most generous philanthropic acts in New Zealand history.

“We thank the Robertsons for their outstanding contribution to New Zealand, and their generous gift to the people of Auckland. Auckland is fortunate to benefit so handsomely.”

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“Today’s luncheon was a wonderful event,” says Gallery director Chris Saines. “It was great to have the five paintings present at the event, together with Julian Robertson and members of his immediate family.”

The works are:

Pablo Picasso’s Mère aux enfants à l’orange (1951) [featuring his children Claude and Paloma]
Georges Braque’s La tasse (1911)
Henri Matisse's Espagnole (1922)
André Derain’s Paysage a l’Estaque (1906)
Salvador Dalí’s Instrument masochiste (1933-34)

Young visitors to the gallery are also encouraged to get involved, with the Sunday Kidsclub activities centred around the artists and styles featured in the preview exhibition. Children will have a chance to create their own artwork in response to the Robertson paintings, which will then be exhibited on Saturday, 14 November and Sunday, 15 November, in the space previously occupied by the Robertson exhibition.

The children’s programme echoes a similar activity held in 2006. After works from their collection had been on display at Auckland Art Gallery and Te Papa, Julian and Josie Robertson were sent paintings local children had made in response to Pablo Picasso’s Woman in a Hairnet (1938). On viewing them Julian Robertson exclaimed, ‘Aren’t they wonderful. Picasso would have been under intense competition if these children had been around!’ Such was their delight, that they became convinced that New Zealand would be the right place to leave their own ‘family’ of paintings.

The Auckland Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the continuing support of the New Zealand Government and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, through the Indemnity for Touring Exhibitions programme.

ends

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