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Collecting Modern

22 Aug 2014 - 18 Oct 2015

International Works gallery

Previous Exhibition

  Watch and listen to arts multimedia

<P><EM>Collecting Modern</EM> goes behind the scenes of Te Papa’s collection. It tells the story of how the National Art Gallery &#8211; Te Papa’s forerunner &#8211; built its collection of international modern art during the 20th century.</P> <P>Four key periods of collecting are explored. Together, they reveal how changing institutional priorities, shifting ideas about modern art, and individual tastes shaped collecting choices.</P> <P>This exhibition is by no means immune to such influences. It, too, reflects the tastes and interests of its curator and ideas about museum practice at a particular moment in time.</P> <P><STRONG>The early years</STRONG> <BR></STRONG>From 1936</P> <P>In 1936, New Zealand’s National Art Gallery (Te Papa’s forerunner) opened its doors on Buckle Street, Wellington. Most of the initial collection was donated by the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, which had been collecting for more than 30 years in anticipation of the new gallery. Other works were donated by private supporters or funded from public subscription.</P> <P>The creation of the international art collection was motivated by a desire to expose New Zealanders to contemporary art from ‘mother country’ Britain. The paintings chosen were conservative compared to the avant-garde art being made in Europe at the time. No works by Picasso, Duchamp, Matisse, or Goncharova were to be found here.</P> <P>Nevertheless, many of the early acquisitions respond to modernism in their experimentation with colour, form, and subject matter.</P> <P><STRONG>Ernest Heber Thompson: An artist advisor<BR></STRONG>1940s&#8211;50s</P> <P>From the late 1940s, the National Art Gallery (Te Papa’s forerunner) employed a London representative to recommend art works for the collection. Ernest Heber Thompson (1891&#8211;1971), an expatriate New Zealand artist, was first to take the role. Under his influence, international collecting became a little bolder, though it remained focused on British representational works.</P> <P>Heber Thompson was a respected member of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers, with a broad knowledge of the New Zealand and British art scenes. He arranged the acquisition of works by several key 20th-century British artists, including Walter Sickert, Stanley Spencer, and Jacob Epstein.</P> <P>Heber Thompson had an eye for works with strong emotional resonance and technical skill. His choices were not necessarily radical, but they nonetheless nudged conservative New Zealanders towards a more sophisticated appreciation of what international modern art had to offer.</P> <P><STRONG>Mary Chamot: The avant-garde touch<BR></STRONG>1960s&#8211;70s</P> <P>In 1965, Mary Chamot (1899&#8211;1993) became the London representative for New Zealand’s National Art Gallery (forerunner of Te Papa), taking over from Ernest Heber Thompson. The works showcased here give us a glimpse of how her taste and sharp eye helped build a bolder, more sophisticated collection of international modern art.</P> <P>Born in Russia to English parents, Chamot developed an expert knowledge of Russian avant-garde art and British modern painting. She later worked as a curator at London’s Tate Gallery.</P> <P>Under Chamot’s guidance, New Zealand’s National Art Gallery acquired works by leading European artists of the 20th century, including Josef Albers, Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Stanley Spencer, and Natalia Goncharova.</P> <P><STRONG>Modern masters <BR></STRONG>Late 1970s&#8211;80s</P> <P>From the late 1970s, the National Art Gallery (now Te Papa) began to confront some of the gaps in its collection of international modern art. Many artists who had emerged as the most important figures of the 20th century were not represented at all.</P> <P>By this time, the prices demanded for paintings by artists like Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse were staggering &#8211; out of reach for our small country. The solution was to turn to more affordable works on paper by some of these ‘modern masters’.</P> <P>The strategy proved canny, producing a rich collection of interesting and unexpected works by famous artists.</P> <P><A href="">Listen to curator Chelsea Nichols talk about the exhibition <EM>Collecting Modern</EM> in <EM>Off the Wall</EM></A></P>
Selected Works

Goblin market

Frank Craig


If no one ever marries me

William M. Loudan

circa 1912

The death of the year

Charles Sims


Winter in Quebec

Alexander Young Jackson


Three boys

Bernard Fleetwood-Walker

circa 1934


Rhona Haszard



Ruth Hollingsworth

circa 1915


Harley Griffiths Senior

Venice, Santa Maria della Salute

Sir Frank Brangwyn


Girl at her toilet

Glyn W. Philpot

circa 1910

Nymph and satyr

Aime-Jules Dalou

Quiet afternoon

E Heber Thompson

circa 1939

Portrait of Katherine Mansfield

Anne E. Rice


Still life

Samuel J. Peploe

circa 1930

Mother and Child

Charles T. Wheeler

circa 1933

Little girl

Sydney C. Harpley

circa 1956

The blue hat

Walter R. Sickert


Portrait of John Minton

Robert A. Buhler

circa 1949

Beatitudes of love VII: Romantic meeting

Sir Stanley Spencer


Death of a peasant

Henry Lamb II


Yehudi Menuhin

Jacob Epstein


The dance

Ruskin Spear


The brass bedstead

Bryan Kneale


The marriage at Cana

Winifred Knights


The straw hat

Mark Gertler


The window

Edwin J. Pasmore


Porteuse de raisins

Natalia S. Goncharova

circa 1911

Flower piece

Ivon Hitchens

circa 1935

Not exactly a horse

Stefan Knapp


Turupu Kanumalu

Rama S. Rao


The jockey

Christopher Wood

circa 1926-1927

Goblet: Uccello series

Melvin N. Day


White line square XIV

Josef Albers



Josef Albers


Nude and moon

Godfrey Miller


February 2 1947 (painting J.L.M.)

Ben Nicholson


Cool moon

Barbara Hepworth


Outer space

Natalia S. Goncharova


Horse and rider

Elisabeth Frink


My summer's now

Graham Arnold


Oval form (Trezion)

Barbara Hepworth


Head (Tête)

Joseph Csaky



Piet Mondrian



Theo Van Doesburg


Aus der Tierlegende. From: Genius.

Franz Marc


Composition 2. From the album: Klange

Wassily Kandinsky


The miller, his son and donkey. (Le meunier, son fils et l'ane) From : The Fables of La Fontaine.

Marc Chagall


Interior with monochromes

Richard Hamilton


Republic of the Southern Cross

R. B. Kitaj



Eduardo Paolozzi


Tongue cloud over London with Thames Ball

Claes T. Oldenburg


Sinjerli variations IV. From a series of six.

Frank Stella


Figures on a beach

Percy Wyndham Lewis


Untitled. From a series of 16 etchings to illustrate Hesiod's `Theogony'

Georges Braque



Robert Delaunay


The genius of the species (Le génie de l'espèce)

André Masson


Horsefeathers - Thirteen series (Group II) no. XIII

Robert Rauschenberg


The model

Maud W. Sherwood


Mediterranean market

Sir Frank Brangwyn


Le verger

André Derain


Binham Abbey, Norfolk

John Piper


Vierge aux Sept Glaives (Virgin of the Seven Swords). From the series: Miserere

Georges Rouault


Portrait of Mary Chamot

Nadia Benois


Joachim among the shepherds

Sir Stanley Spencer


Double portrait No. 2 (Katharine and Anthony West)

Frances Hodgkins


Zelah No. 2, 1963

Denis Mitchell


Design for sculpture

Henry Moore


Design for sculpture

Henry Moore


Standing and reclining figures

Henry Moore


Collage, still life with black head

John Piper


Mirmande landscape (Paysage Mirmande)

Andre Lhote


Ecce Homo. From: 'The Passion' by André Suarès

Georges Rouault



Man Ray


Fragment - according to what - leg and chair

Jasper Johns


Industry and the arts

Roy Lichtenstein


Le modèle et deux personnages

Pablo Picasso


Woman reading

Eileen Agar


Waistcoat [Betty]

Marcel Duchamp


Chess players.

Marcel Duchamp


Rhythms (Rythmes)

Max Ernst


Woman attacked by birds (Femme attaquee par des oiseaux)

André Masson


I'm dreaming of a black Christmas

Richard Hamilton


Self portrait

Dame Laura Knight

circa 1913


Daniel O'Neill

circa 1953

The heart called Paris spring

Jim Dine


Programme of Opening Ceremony

National Art Gallery and Dominion Museum New Zealand

1 August 1936

Souvenir Catalogue of Pictures and Works of Art for Opening Exhibition

National Art Gallery and Dominion Museum New Zealand

August 1936

The National Art Gallery and Dominion Museum

L. T. Watkins Ltd., and M Mathews


Notre Dame, Paris.

Henri Matisse


Groupe de femmes

Sonia Delaunay


Other Exhibitions
Bottle - goldfish on vortex plinth

John Parker: Handmade Precision



European Splendour 1500-1800


The Clown from Fulham Road

Inspired: Ceramics and jewellery shaped by the past

18 Mar 2016 - Sep 2016

Whakapakoko Tutei

Nga Kaihanga Uku

20 Jan 2016 - 13 Mar 2016

Modded Server-Rack Display with Some Interpretations of Imagery from NSA MYSTIC, FOXACID, QUANTUMTHEORY, and Other SSO/TAO Slides

Simon Denny: Secret Power


Untitled. From &#39;The object series&#39;

Alexis Hunter: The model’s revenge

09 Sep 2016 -

Max Gimblett, &lt;EM&gt;Remembrance&lt;/EM&gt;, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and The Friends of St David’s Trust

The Art of Remembrance

16 Mar 2016 - 07 Aug 2016

Untitled #6. From the portfolio: 10 Screenprints

Maori minimalism and international influence - Te Ao Hou | Modern Maori Art


Knowledge on a beam of starlight (panel 1)

Kerry Ann Lee: Knowledge on a beam of starlight

22 Aug 2014 - Mar 2016


The Anzac print portfolio


 Flower dish

Walter Cook: A collector's quest

21 Jul 2012 - 06 Mar 2016

Portrait taken amongst kauri gum diggers, Te Papa

Adorned | Whakarakei


Milford Sound, cascade from Mitre

New Zealand Photography Collected

06 Nov 2015 - 07 Aug 2016


John Drawbridge: Oceanscapes

02 Jul 2015 - 02 Nov 2015

View of Mt Egmont, Taranaki, New Zealand, taken from New Plymouth, with Maoris driving off settlers’ cattle


06 Nov 2015 - 17 Jan 2016

Matt Pine, &lt;em&gt;Placement Projects: revisited&lt;/em&gt;, 2016. Photograph by Mike O&#39;Neill. Te Papa

Matt Pine: Placement Projects revisited


Up in the sky #11

Filmic imaginaries: Jacqueline Fraser and Tracey Moffatt

16 Aug 2016 -

Sataua, Savai&#39;i, Western Samoa, 1982. From the series: Polynesia here and there

Glenn Jowitt: Photographing the Pacific

02 Apr 2015 - 02 Nov 2015

Elongation. From the series: House Alterations

Open Home: Contemporary New Zealand artists explore home life



Splash! Four contemporary New Zealand paintings

02 Apr 2015 - 26 Oct 2015

The first view of the valley, Yosemite, from the Mariposa Trail

Carleton Watkins

06 Nov 2015 - 28 Aug 2016

Fay and Jane Birkinshaw

New Visions, New Zealand


The painted dream garden

Two Artists: Emily Karaka & Shona Rapira Davies

02 Apr 2015 - 18 Oct 2015

The Terraces

Framing the View


T&#239;vaevae ta’&#246;rei pepe e pua kaute (quilt with butterfly and hibiscus pattern)

Tivaevae: Out of the glory box

02 Apr 2015 - 11 Oct 2015

Santo Stefano, Capri

Louis Rosenberg: Etched into memory

02 Apr 2015 - 18 Oct 2015

Nopera Te Ngiha

Ngati Toa Rangatira: He iti whetu | Ngati Toa portraits

02 Apr 2015 - 31 Jul 2016

Helen Hitchings holding a carved wooden cat

The Gallery of Helen Hitchings


T&#228; Moko panel

Kanohi Kitea | Maori & Pacific Encounters

29 Mar 2013 - 01 Mar 2015

He Korero Purakau mo Te Awanui o Te Motu: story of a New Zealand river

Black Rainbow: Ralph Hotere & Michael Parekowhai

22 Mar 2014 - 01 Mar 2015

Figures in landscape

Emblems of Identity

29 Mar 2013 - 01 Mar 2015


Being Modern

29 Mar 2013 - 01 Mar 2015

Te Kooti at Ruatahuna

Te Ao Hou | Modern Maori Art

02 Apr 2015 - 31 Jul 2016

Winter in Quebec

Collecting Modern

22 Aug 2014 - 18 Oct 2015

Boy Am I Scarred Eh

Peter Robinson: Retorts & comebacks

22 Aug 2014 - 01 Mar 2015

The dinner party

Framing the Museum

22 Aug 2014 - 01 Mar 2015

Waharoa (gateway)

Art throughout Te Papa


&quot;Un Grime&quot; Musique de Ravel (An Actor)

Natalia Goncharova: A visual radical

22 Aug 2014 - 01 Mar 2015

Daylight flotsam Venice

Bill Culbert in Venice

22 Aug 2014 - 01 Mar 2015

Martha Graham - &#39;Ekstasis&#39;

Anonymous Bodies

22 Aug 2014 - 01 Mar 2015

I was born in the Pacific Equinox

Contemporary Pacific Art

Nov 2014 - 01 Mar 2015

A grain of wheat

Jonathan Mane-Wheoki (1943–2014)

19 Oct 2014 - 23 Nov 2014

The giant stride

Speed and Colour: British linocuts of the 1930s

01 Feb 2014 - 15 Jun 2014

Land List

Meridian Lines: Contemporary art from New Zealand

21 Sep 2013 - 25 May 2014

The marriage at Cana

Winifred Knights: The Marriage at Cana

12 May 2014 - 20 Jul 2014

The living room (The &#39;great living room&#39; with open timber roof. The dining room to left. The great table 5&#39; 6 x 9&#39; with top cut from a single rimu log originally 6&#39; through. The bay window looks across the Bight to Egmont in the distance - A view seldom equalled)

Letting Us In

18 Jan 2014 - 20 Jul 2014

Marken funeral barge

Petrus van der Velden: Art of two halves

19 Oct 2013 - 20 Jul 2014

This is the Trekka

Michael Stevenson: This is the Trekka

19 Oct 2013 - 20 Jul 2014

Poster for &#39;James K. Baxter Festival 1973: Four Plays&#39;

Walk with Me

19 Oct 2013 - 20 Jul 2014


Bone Stone Shell

19 Oct 2013 - 20 Jul 2014

Autumn mist

Art of the 20th Century

29 Mar 2013 - 20 Jul 2014

Light Fall

Bill Culbert's Light Fall

22 Aug 2014 - 19 Oct 2014

Lake Matheson, Westland

Brian Brake: Lens on the World

14 Dec 2011 - 20 Jul 2014

Te Papa poster no. 22

Artist Project: Andrew McLeod

29 Mar 2013 - 20 Jul 2014

Shi Lu Painting a lotus flower

Shi Lu: A revolution in paint

21 Mar 2014 - 22 Jun 2014

Water lilies in painted pond. From the series: Lower Hutt: two public places

Slight Arrangements

04 Feb 2014 - 12 May 2014

Atua #4

Darryn George: Maori abstraction

Dec 2013 - 03 Feb 2014

Untitled (Textile design no III)

Frances Hodgkins: Textile designs

19 Oct 2013 - 16 Jan 2014

Reading on the Rocks, Grand Manan

Colour & Light: Impressionism from France & America

13 Jul 2013 - 12 Jan 2014

The girl with flaxen hair

Figures in Light

19 Oct 2013 - 02 Dec 2013

Chester Karnofsky

Warhol Aotearoa

06 Aug 2013 - 29 Sep 2013

Blue and green Pacific

Kainga, Whenua, Moana | Home, Land, & Sea

29 Mar 2013 - 29 Sep 2013

Orange on black

Black Rainbow: Ralph Hotere & Michael Parekowhai

29 Mar 2013 - 29 Sep 2013

Tawa. From the portfolio: Barry Lett Multiples

Gordon Walters

29 Mar 2013 - 29 Sep 2013

Life at Yuwa Dreaming

Gifted: Aboriginal art 1971–2011

29 Mar 2013 - 29 Sep 2013

Shadow, New York City. From the portfolio: 15 Photographs by Lee Friedlander

On Looking: International photographs

29 Mar 2013 - 29 Sep 2013

Warhol: Immortal banner image

Warhol: Immortal

01 Jun 2013 - 25 Aug 2013

Churchward Design Bold Print Negative

Joseph Churchward

31 May 2013 - 05 Aug 2013

Emerey Weschlette

Yvonne Todd

29 Mar 2013 - 30 May 2013

Bill Culbert, &lt;EM&gt;Daylight flotsam Venice&lt;/EM&gt; and &lt;EM&gt;Level&lt;/EM&gt;, photograph by Jennifer French, 2013

New Zealand at Venice 2013: Front Door Out Back

29 May 2013 - 24 Nov 2013

Amiens. From the series: The consolation of philosophy: Piko nei te matenga

Remembering the Maori Battalion: Michael Parekowhai

16 Mar 2015 - Jul 2015