Posts categorized as Art

The Great Ngā Toi Christmas Quiz!

Digital StillCamera

  As promised, here is the great Ngā Toi Quiz! Prizes include: goodies from Ngā Toi store, Belgian chocolates and possibly something liquid! Answer EACH of the following: 1. Where can you find a frightening notice about a murder? 2. Which art work daringly depicts two women lovers? 3. There’s a Picasso in one art work. … Read more »

Curator’s Picks from the new Ngā Toi/ Arts Te Papa

  • Snake
  • Snake
  • Maori combat with Taiaha and Mere 1906 McDonald James - photocopy
  • Moa

Even before you arrive here, you are guaranteed to be swept off your feet: a massively enlarged version of Alfred Burton’s Milford Sound: Cascade from Mitre wittily tumbles down the steps to Level 4. You must bravely navigate the cascade, as a real treat awaits you! Best painting? This must be Strutt! His View of Mt Egmont,… Read more »

Peter McLeavey (1936-2015)

Peter with Richard Killeen’s Interpretation, 1979. Photograph by Richard Killeen

This morning we were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Peter McLeavey, the pre-eminent New Zealand art dealer. Peter discovered New Zealand art as a young man in the early 1960s, soon after returning from his ‘OE’ in Europe. Meeting artists such as Colin McCahon, Toss Woollaston, Gordon Walters and Michael Illingworth, he was astonished… Read more »

Curious: Martinho Lowande – ‘the Great Brazilian Bareback Hurricane rider’


This studio portrait by Melbourne photographer Arthur Burman, shows Martinho Lowande and his sons dressed in their performance outfits and was taken just prior to their performances in New Zealand. Lowande, billed as the ‘Great Brazilian Bareback Hurricane rider’, performed bareback horse riding stunts while supporting either one of his two sons (aged 4 and 7 years). The… Read more »

Van Gogh 125


One hundred and twenty five years ago, in a cornfield of raucous crows, Vincent van Gogh shot himself. On 15 October I am exploring the Van Gogh phenomenon in a public lecture, ‘Starry, starry night: looking at Vincent van Gogh’, Soundings Theatre, 6 pm. This is being presented on behalf of the Embassy of the… Read more »

Curious: Miss Matilda Sanville – the smallest lady in the world


This portrait of Matilda Sanville – the smallest lady in the world (also known as ‘the Fairy Queen’) – was taken in Sydney in 1875 in connection with her appearances in the city and before her tour to New Zealand. The portrait uses known studio portrait conventions of the time to convey Sanville’s size (a… Read more »

Healing Te Papa’s Achilles Heel: George Dawe Redefined!

Dawe 1

Posh ignorance vs. best practice Art historians and curators can be obstinately wrong and obtuse even about great masterpieces. A notorious example is Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine (c. 1490) which should really be called Lady with a Ferret, but posh ignorance prevails. The best practitioners in the field are never afraid to… Read more »