Māori art exhibition to open in United States

  • 09/09/2017
Lindauer specialised in portrait paintings.
Lindauer specialised in portrait paintings. Photo credit: Getty

Māori portraits will be shown to a United States audience for the first time, in a seven-month exhibition in San Francisco.

The exhibition, Māori Portraits: Gottfried Lindauer's New Zealand, opens on Saturday (local time) at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.

It features 31 portraits from the Auckland Art Gallery and Auckland War Museum and is being supported by the New Zealand government.

"Thanks to this fantastic partnership we are able to share these taonga with people in San Francisco," says Auckland Art Gallery director Rhana Devenport.

"It extends our mission to share New Zealand's rich cultural heritage and to stimulate discussion prompted by genuine and meaningful experiences.

"Through these encounters with art we share our unique cultural identity."

Max Hollein, director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, says the portraits give insights into Māori culture and the intercultural exchanges with Europeans, the complexity of what a painting can be, and the extraordinary story of a European painter in 19th century New Zealand.

"It is fascinating that a Czech painter, trained in the European style of 19th century portraiture, became the most celebrated portraitist of Māori in New Zealand," he said.

Auckland Art Gallery holds the biggest collection of Lindauer portraits and is lending them to the US after the conclusion of its own exhibition, visited by nearly 100,000 people.

Descendants of some of those painted by Lindauer will give talks at the gallery in San Francisco.

Lindauer's works toured Berlin and Pilsen, in his native Czech Republic, in 2015 and 2016.

The exhibition runs until April 1.