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Descendants farewell Lindauer Māori portraits

This Saturday 11 October 2014, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki will host a historic gathering as descendants of the painter Gottfried Lindauer, his patron Henry Partridge and his Māori sitters come together to farewell a collection of important 19th-century portraits.

The landmark occasion acknowledges the departure of 48 Māori portraits by the late 19th-century painter, Gottfried Lindauer, as they tour to be exhibited in Berlin, Germany and Pilsen, Czech Republic. The farewell event will acknowledge the significance of this milestone in the life of the artworks, and the first departure of the collection of works from New Zealand shores in over 100 years.

Descendants of the subjects of the paintings will gather at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki alongside descendants of Lindauer and those of Auckland businessman Henry Partridge who commissioned the works and donated the collection to the gallery in 1915. Gallery Director, Rhana Devenport and her team will welcome the descendant communities early Saturday morning, providing them with an opportunity to meet, exchange stories and farewell the taonga on its momentous journey.

‘As taonga, these paintings have priceless cultural value for New Zealand and even more significance for the descendants of the subjects, the artist and his benefactor,’ says Devenport. ‘We have established relations with the descendant communities over many years, and this event presents a valuable opportunity to connect the portraits with the living relatives for whom they have particular resonance. It’s not just a part of the history of these artworks, but also a chance to acknowledge their on-going importance in a modern context.’

The Nationalgalerie (National Gallery), part of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin), will present an exhibition focused on Lindauer’s portraits at the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery) from 19 November 2014 to 12 April 2015. The portraits will then travel on from Berlin to Lindauer’s birthplace of Pilsen for another exhibition from May until July 2015 at the Západočeská galerie v Plzni (Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen).

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki holds 63 Lindauer portraits in the Partridge Collection, of which 44 will be presented in both Berlin and Pilsen, along with four portraits from Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa’s collection.

Updated on 23rd July 2015