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Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artists: A Guide & Handbook

VAN DER VELDEN, Petrus 1837–1913

page 240

VAN DER VELDEN, Petrus 1837–1913

Born Rotterdam, son of warehouse foreman and porter: at twelve sent to work but, his drawing ability attracting attention, was sent to drawing master and then to Drawing Academy. Was apprenticed to a lithographer, later partner in a lithographic firm. From 1864 turned to serious painting: studied at the Academy, went to Berlin on a scholarship. Married 1876. Became one of the group led by Israels. Van Gogh met him in 1883 and was impressed. Though he seemed well established as a Dutch painter, he left Holland in 1890 and took his family to New Zealand via Sydney; arriving possibly in Auckland (Kennett Watkins, painter, refers to coming across him there) but settling in Christchurch, sponsored by Gerrit Van Asch, already an established Christchurch resident. 1891 visited Otira and the landscape there became the “motif” for a great series of paintings. Paid visits to Dunedin c.1892 and 1896. 1894 started a life class but in 1898, finding life financially difficult, left for Sydney on the Monowai via Wellington. Exhibited with the Art Society of NSW, a painting was bought for the NSW Art Gallery, but still he had financial difficulty. His wife died 1899. In 1905 he returned to New Zealand, settled in Wellington, married an Australian. 1907 visited Christchurch, in 1913 Auckland, where he became ill and died on 11 November. Work included Centennial Ex Wtn 1940. Represented by a large collection in McDougall; in major New Zealand galleries, Turnbull and Hocken; the Art Gallery of NSW and in the Dienst voor's Rijks Verspreide Kunstvoorwerpen, The Hague,