Auckland City Art Gallery
Newsletter Number 1 April/July 1981

A quarterly publication containing news, views and reviews of activities at the Auckland City Art Gallery

The Art Gallery Board of Management recently decided that information about the Gallery's activities should be available in the form of a newsletter. This issue, the first of four to be produced in 1981, has also been bound into the pages of Art New Zealand magazine in the hope that its readers will enjoy news of the Gallery.

During April, every work on display will be from the Gallery's permanent collection. Visitors should take the opportunity of seeing these works before the two-month long Pompeii A.D. 79 exhibition.

The Reconstruction of the Gallery - A Progress Report
Since 1971, when the Gallery's Edmiston Wing was opened, plans have existed to extend both exhibition and service departments into the Kitchener and Wellesley Street frontages of the Old library portion of the Gallery building. Although work was very late in commencing on this important project, contractors have been working on Stage I for some time now. When completed (scheduled for March 1982) this stage will effectively double the available exhibition space.

On each of the ground and first floor levels, three new medium-sized galleries will be created. Those at first floor level, adjacent to the Works on Paper department, will be used for prints, drawings and similar material; those above for the New Zealand collection. The semi-circular galleries on each level lend themselves to the exhibition of early New Zealand material.

Below, in the Lower Ground floor, the Gallery Associates will have rooms, and Education Staff will have offices and a classroom. This department's position, on the corner of the building, is a prime one and the concept of stacked education spaces extending vertically up through the building has been adopted. These will accommodate Education Foyers on Ground and First Floor levels, for the installation of static educational programmes and an audio-visual theatre on the First Floor. Eventually the lower Ground Floor auditorium will service this department and already plans are being developed for the conversion of a small store room elsewhere in the building to an Audio-Visual Works hop/Theatre for the making and recording of slide-tape and video programmes.

Stage I is almost all public space. Stage II, recently switched around in the building programme and moved up in the order of priorities, is, by contrast, almost exclusively a service domain. It consists of a triangular building inserted in the back of the present buildings, and connects up with a remodelled Loading Bay to provide a service lane of loading, packing, registration and preparation. It also links into the new paintings store and contains within it a goods service lift, a passenger lift, a large public stair and two egress stairs, two sculpture stores, air-conditioning plant, public toilets and other service functions. This new building will become, in effect, the heart and lungs of the Art Gallery complex extending vital services and communications vertically up through three levels, a mezzanine and an attic.

Stage III, which sees the completion of the project in late 1984 or early 1985, and the full occupation of the site, provides the eagerly awaited restoration of the Old Library Reference Room. There can be few more elegant Victorian spaces in New Zealand than this large, lofty room with its mezzanine floor, supported on graceful, slender cast-iron columns and arcading, and with its apsidal ends on both levels looking out into the arcadian splendour of Albert Park. These spaces, and the original architectural detailing, will be preserved and restored to provide a beautiful contrast with the sophisticated modern spaces elsewhere. Lighting and airconditioning will be of the highest standards available but none of the integrity of the original architecture will be lost. Below these galleries, at lower Ground levels, will be constructed a new auditorium to provide for film, audio-visual shows, lectures, small recitals and similar Gallery-related theatre activities.

By the beginning of 1985, and possibly sooner, the Auckland City Art Gallery will have been completed on its present site, and a fine addition to the City's amenities the new gallery spaces and services will be; but the restoration and conversion of a fine Victorian building will be complete and the site fully occupied. Already we must be turning our minds to the question of how we obtain space for further growth, and some exciting and stimulating possibilities are open to us. If we are to safeguard these possibilities, the various options must be explored within the next year or two, and even more innovative planning ideas will be called for in the next round of Gallery growth.


August 24, 79 AD: Pompeii
Treasures from the National Archaeological Museum, Naples and the Pompeii Antiquarium, Italy.

Proposed dates of exhibition: May 14 to June 14

Darkness fell not like the natural darkness of a cloudy night, but as if a lamp had suddenly been extinguished, wrote Pliny the Younger of the Pompeiian eruption. I cannot describe its appearance and shape better than as an umbrella pine tree, with a very tall trunk rising high into the sky and then spreading out in branches.

Pompeii is known to everyone - few have escaped the fascination of this town seized at a moment in time and rendered immortal by the fiery forces of Mount Vesuvius. And the exhibition, Pompeii, we hope, will come to Auckland in May and June.

At the time of going to press, negotiations were underway with the Italian Government, the New Zealand Government and potential sponsors to clear the way for this fascinating exhibition of 318 items, including fresco, bronze, mosaic and ceramic works of decorative and fine arts, and beautiful sculptures from the Pompeiian excavations, this collection has already been exhibited in North America, Europe and Australia.

Fish mosaic, circa 100 BC (Naples Museum)

It will be the largest and most complex exhibition to tour our Galleries and is intended for Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, and a fine catalogue, extensively illustrated in both colour and black and white will be available. Campania, History of Pompeii, The town -Government and People, The town - planning and architecture. The Pompeiian house and garden, The economy, Cults and beliefs, Entertainment, Painting, Sculpture, The other arts and Herculanaeum are all covered in separate sections of the exhibition and catalogue, and represented by well chosen objects rescued centuries later from the ash and cinders beneath which they had been buried since Pliny's time.

Exhibition Cancelled
As we were about to go to press we were informed that this exhibition would not be available for a New Zealand tour. Negotiations are underway to replace Pompeii AD 79 with another major show.

Modern Prints Sampler Exhibition closes May 17

This exhibition shows the strengths of the Gallery's first rate collection of foreign contemporary prints and is augmented by a selection of New Zealand printmakers' works. The majority of prints are British and American, since it was those two countries that experienced a veritable renaissance in printmaking during the 1960s. Numerous major international artists are represented, including David Hockney, Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella and Ronald Kitaj. The range of styles and media represented is diverse. A number of the prints are recent acquisitions which are being displayed for the first time. Of particular interest are: an exclusive print by the sage of the American avant-garde, John Cage, which is based on chance procedures; Ed Ruscha's screenprints made with organic substances such as axle grease, caviar, squid in ink and raw egg; Michael Heizer's mammoth drypoint printed from the fortuitous scratches and gouges on sheets of scrapmetal; and Richard Hamilton's virtuoso etching, Picasso's Meninas, which is a wry comment on Picasso's various copies of Velasquez' great masterpiece, Las Meninas. A thoroughly informative catalogue is available.

Nineteenth Century Painters: At The Beach & In The New Zealand Bush Exhibition closes May 10

For many artists arriving in New Zealand last century as immigrants or just as visitors, two features of the landscape in the new country appear to have held a strong fascination - the coastline and the native bush.

The sheltered bays in the north where settlement began, were painted again and again, and later the wilder west coast beaches near Auckland became favourite subjects. New Zealanders seem to have been beach-loving people from the earliest days as many of the works, both early and late, include small figures walking, digging, playing, fishing, or just watching the waves. Sunbathing, however, is a twentieth century phenomenon.

The effects of civilisation on the landscape were also observed by artists. In 1888 A. E. Aldis painted a small oil of Mechanics Bay, which shows a brickworks and other buildings dominating the foreshore and it may have been an awareness of constant encroachments on the native bush which prompted many artists to try to portray its dense, damp greenness and great variety of native plants. Some succeeded admirably, while others produced works which moulded the New Zealand landscape into an imitation of an English arcadia.

ALFRED SHARPE Oyster Cove, North Harbour, Auckland 1879

The exhibition includes a number of masterpieces of nineteenth century New Zealand painting and will be of both historical and artistic interest. Artists include Nicholas Chevalier, Alfred Sharpe, The Rev. John Kinder, Charles Blomfield, Frank and Waiter Wright and extending into the early years of this century, Edward Fristrom.

European Sculpture Gallery Foyer through April and May
During the next twelve months, part of the Gallery's collection of European and American sculpture will be exhibited in the foyer. The selection has been divided into four groupings and these will follow one another at approximately two monthly intervals.

JACOB EPSTEIN View of Rock Drill (original state)

The first group includes Jacob Epstein's Torso in Metal from the Rock Drill 1913-16. This work marks the triumph of Vorticist sculpture. Epstein originally intended to amalgamate the man-made machinery of an actual drill with his sculpted form. Epstein explained: 'I lost my interest in machinery and discarded the drill. I cast in metal only the upper part of the figure'. Years later, Epstein considered Rock Drill to be 'a thing prophetic of much of the great war and as such within the experience of nearly all', which is tantamount to admitting that the holocaust had caused him to reconsider the true meaning of his iron instrument. 'I remember Epstein saying that he abandoned the drill because he hadn't made it himself, it was just a machine', recalled his widow. 'Here is the armed sinister figure of today and tomorrow', Epstein wrote later, and he made his own feelings clear when he explained that Rock Drill possesses 'no humanity, only that terrible Frankenstein's mask we have made ourselves into'.

Eye to Eye: Portraits of women produced by artists working in Great Britain 1630-1950. Exhibition closes May 10,

Portraiture is one of the strongest traditions in British painting. This exhibition presents works by artists who have used women as a model for portraits. Some artists, like Allan Ramsay for instance, have been required to identify the role and status of a sitter so that the picture serves as a suitable memorial to a particular woman's appearance. At other times, the painter has had freedom to explore a more personal expression in the representation of a particular woman, be it one that has been drawn from life, imagination or literature.

HAROLD GILMAN Mother and Child 1918
ink on paper
HAROLD GILMAN Mother and Child 1918
oil on canvas

Clive Stone: Hibiscus Coast Project June 24 to August 2

Begun in 1973, Clive Stone's Hibiscus Coast project is a photographic documentation of a cross-section of the Orewa community. Influenced by the work of two great photographers: Bruce Davidson (East 100th Street) and August Sander (Faces of our Time) Clive Stone has adopted a deliberately cool and objective approach to his subjects, often letting them position themselves in their surroundings - either the home or workplace. In Clive Stone's own words, 'the real theme of the photographs became not simply the people of the Hibiscus Coast, but the conflict that is implied between the image we as outsiders have of the area (Auckland's summer playground), how the community sees itself, how it thinks it is seen by others, and how its constituents actually turn out in the portraits.' The fifty black and white photographs exhibited are a selection f rom more than 100 finished portraits Clive Stone made between 1973 and 1980. He was assisted in his project by a Queen Elizabeth 11 Arts Council Grant, in 1976.

CLIVE STONE Bernard Stone and wife, Joan, Arkles Bay gelatin silver print

Robin Morrison: South Island Photographs June 22 to August 2

Robin Morrison's exhibition takes us on a tour of the South Island with a difference. No snowy mountain peaks, fiords and tracts of luxuriant bush in those photographs. Instead we are shown a wealth of architectural whimsy: puce stucco, mescalin-deco, paua shell extravaganza and two-toned matching cottage and caravan are some of the chocolate-box treats in this selection. Photographed mainly in Central and Coastal Otago, the West Coast, Nelson and Canterbury and culled from thousands of images taken between 1975 and 1979, the photographs also include examples of indigenous 'austere' such as the green and white Linkwater Memorial Hall and the prim cream coloured Sutton railway station, both of which would be at home in Robin White's prints. Robin Morrison was assisted in his project by a Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council Grant in 1976.

Recent Acquisitions New Zealand Art May 13 to June 14

A number of significant works have been acquired by the Auckland City Art Gallery in the past two years and many will be displayed for the first time in this exhibition, which includes historical and contemporary painting, sculpture and works on paper. Of particular interest are the group of works by Robert Nettleton Field, some purchased by the Gallery and others kindly donated by Mr and Mrs Field. They include paintings, watercolours, drawings, prints and sculpture and, as a group, they reinforce the importance of Robert Field's contribution to art in New Zealand.

oil on canvas

The decades of the nineteen-thirties and 'forties were important ones for New Zealand art and the Gallery has sought out and acquired several works to augment our holdings from the period. The artists include Ida Eise, May Smith, Adele Younghusband, Minnie F White, M.E.R. Tripe and Charles and John Tole.

Paintings, drawings and prints by Colir McCahon have been acquired and the exhibition also includes the Art Gallery Associates magnificent gift to the collection, Riwaka Wharf and White Heron a recent landscape by Sir M. T. Wooliaston. Sculpture by Greer Twiss, Christine Hellyar, Chris Booth, Neil Dawson and Terry Stringer will be displayed along with large recent paintings by Don Peebles, Pat Hanly, Robert McLeod, Glenda Randerson, Ross Ritchie, Grahame Sydney and Ralph Hotere. The exhibition will be an exciting one and should not be missed.

TERRY STRINGER Mount Eden Scene Screen
oil on board

Two New Additions to The Print Collection

Neptune, a chiaroscuro woodblock printed from one line block and two tone blocks by the great Dutch artist Hendrik Coltzius (1558-1617), is the first of six oval prints he made depicting classical deities; the other five being Calatea, Pluto, Proserpine, Helios and Nox. A superb example of the Dutch mannerist style, Neptune is a major addition to the Gallery's small existing collection of chiaroscuro prints. Goltzius, who was perhaps the greatest virtuoso copperplate engraver of all time, was also responsible for bringing Dutch chiaroscuro, printing into its own after years of German influence. Goltzius transposed to the woodblock his engraving device of swelling and diminishing lines which imparted to his images a dynamic sculptural quality, which his contemporaries enthusiastically imitated. His early chiaroscuro prints are marked by a stress on the line block, but after his 1590-1591 journey to Italy, his interest shifted to tone blocks and colouristic contrasts, influenced by the Italian chiaroscuro prints after Parmigianino and by Andreani.

chiaroscuro woodcut

A recent acquisition and the largest print in the permanent collection Scrap Metal Drypoint No. 3 is an important addition to the Gallery's fine collection of contemporary American prints. Heizer, who achieved artistic prominence in the late 1960s with his massive earthworks executed in the Californian desert, made his first prints, in this almost obsolete medium, in 1978 at Gemini Graphic Editions Limited, Los Angeles. Scrap Metal Drypoint No. 3 is one of a set of six large drypoints derived from the fortuitous gouges and scratches on sheets of scrapmetal which Heizer cut into a series of related geometic shapes: mainly circles, segments of circles, and triangles. An exciting tension is created between the formal shapes of the metal plates and their indeterminate markings. like his monumental modernistic anoline dye paintings executed on the bed of Coyote Dry Lake, California, which rather than being destroyed by the weather, were simply altered, eventually becoming invisible, Heizer's Scrap Metal Drypoints exploit the vicissitudes of chance which affects and transforms all things in its objective persistent, interminable way: marking, wearing away, eroding, corroding - creating.

MICHAEL HEIZER Scrap Metal Drypoint Number 3 1978


Since January of this year the gallery has had a new director - Dr T. L. Rodney Wilson. Previous to his appointment here, Dr Wilson gained much experience both in art historical scholarship and in the administration of art galleries. He has been the Director of the Wairarapa Arts Centre (1970-71) in Masterton and the Robert McDougall Art Gallery (1978-80) in Christchurch.

In 1972 Dr Wilson was appointed as a temporary Curator at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; prior to his graduation from the University of Nijrnegen as a Doctoraal student. He returned to New Zealand in 1973 and was appointed to the staff of the University of Canterbury Art History Department. He has published a catalogue raisonne of the works of Petrus van der Velden and is currently completing a catalogue of the works of Frances Hodgkins, for publication next year. In 1980 the University of Canterbury awarded him a Doctorate of Philosophy for his studies of Van der Velden.

Dr T. L. Rodney Wilson, Director

Dr Wilson is a member of the AGMANZ council and holds an executive position on the New Zealand Art Gallery Directors' Council. He is also an active participant in the ICOM International Committee on Museology.

Rodney Wilson is married and has two sons.

Mr Mervyn F. Hutchinson has recently begun a two year appointment as Senior Paintings Conservator at the Auckland City Art Gallery. In addition to his duties in Auckland, he is one of three National Conservators who are available for consultation by other New Zealand Art Galleries and Museums.

Mr Hutchinson was born and educated in Vancouver, Canada. In 1973 he graduated from the University of British Columbia with an honours degree in Fine Arts and then worked as an artist for two years before undertaking the Queens University post graduate programme in Art Conservation at Kingston, Ontario.

Mervyn Hutchinson, Senior Paintings Conservator

After completing the programme in 1977 he worked under Mr Ursus Dix, Director of the Pacific Regional Centre of the Canadian Conservation Institute, and under Professor Ian Hodkinson, head of conservation at the National Gallery of Canada. During this time he gained extensive practical experience in the treatment of traditional paintings on canvas and panel, wall paintings, and contemporary works. In 1979 he returned to Vancouver where he operated a private conservation practice until taking up his present position at Auckland City Art Gallery in November, 1980.


Outreach is the Auckland City Council's city cultural centre for the visual and performing arts. It is an extension of the Auckland City Art Gallery and is funded by the Auckland City Council. It is located in the refurbished former Ponsonby Police Station at 1 Ponsonby Road.

Outreach is a unique opportunity for all, especially young people, to benefit from a unique experience by learning more about the visual and performing arts.

Its aim is to meet the social needs of the community by extending the experience of the visual and performing arts to all individuals in the Auckland area - in simple terms, community involvement in the leisure-time cultural and arts activities which can enrich our lives.

Outreach promotes cultural workshops, neighbourhood art experiences, contemporary art events, and an extensive and professional programme of tuition in the fields of arts, crafts, and the performing arts.

Outreach facilities include well equipped workshops and studios for pottery (Outreach's outdoor wood-fired kiln is one of the largest in the Auckland area), drawing and painting, weaving, silkscreen printing, batik, ballet for children, yoga, children's art experience, puppetry for children and adults, reflexology, flaxcraft and children's holiday art programmes. In addition, exhibitions are presented in the professionally-lit gallery, children's film festivals, musical events, readings and slide lectures are also scheduled throughout the year. A fully equipped kitchen and dining room is available to groups, and individual studio space for those who may wish to pursue a specific project in the fields of arts and crafts. For the next six months the following exhibitions have been organised:

2 March to 13 March Paintings by Anna Moroney
16 March to 27 March Work from Ponsonby Intermediate School
30 March to 16 April Images of Men: a multimedia group show
21 April to 1 May Paintings by Marge Barley
27 May to 12 June Works by Australian Intellectually Handicapped People
15 June to 26 June Paintings by Graham Jones
29 June to 10 July Ethnic Project Programme -traditional Maori weaving from the North
13 July to 24 July Paperworks: a group show

Anyone, professional or novice, who is interested in taking up a hobby, art, craft or cultural activity, whether by joining an organised class or simply using the facilities on a casual basis, can hire the Centre. Groups may also use Outreach for conferences, lectures, or informal 'get-togethers'.

As well as being funded by the Auckland City Council, additional assistance comes through some Government funding, private and business sponsorship, and by donations.

Originally published in Art New Zealand 19 Autumn 1981