In 2020, Te Papa acquired an 1897 watercolour painting by Margaret Stoddart that had been given the title Yellow blossom and rosemary by the cataloguers. But what are those blossoms, really? And is that rosemary in the vase, or something else? Here, Curator of Historical Art, Rebecca Rice unpacks the painting and suggests it could be somewhat pricklier than it first appears.
During lockdown, we’ve been encouraged to ‘post’ objects in our windows to offer symbols of solidarity – teddy bears and Anzac poppies – for people walking past, looking in. Rebecca Rice, Curator Historical New Zealand Art reverses the direction and looks at works in our collection where the artist shows us views from the inside out.
William Strutt’s View of Mt Egmont, Taranaki, New Zealand, taken from New Plymouth, with Maoris driving off settlers’ cattle, 1861 has been described by some as the ‘holy grail’ of colonial New Zealand painting. Paintings of this calibre are few and far between in New Zealand’s art history, as budding
As I listened to Judith Jones, one of Te Papa’s hosts trained in audio description, describing the tumultuous sea, the approaching storm and the strange geography of Nicholas Chevalier’s Cook’s Strait New Zealand c. 1885, I ‘saw’ the painting as never before. For the other tour participants, listening acutely, this
There is something magical about the installation period for an exhibition. As Paul Alexander, the lead exhibition preparator for Shi Lu: A revolution in paint, says, it’s a lot like Christmas. Having spent hours poring over plans with thumbnail images, it’s exciting getting the works out, getting them ready, and