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Letters and Art in New Zealand



Possibly because historical interest has outweighed the aesthetic merit in the work of many early artists, most of their water-colours and sketches must be sought out in the New Zealand collections mentioned above and in museums and early colonists' collections. Examples of work dating from the sixties onwards may be seen in public art galleries. The most representative collection is in the National Art Gallery, Wellington, which alone surpasses the well-rounded collection of the Dunedin Art Gallery. Both the Robert McDougall Gallery, Christchurch, and the Auckland Art Gallery contain numerous works by local artists, but they do not appear to have ranged far in selecting their examples of New Zealand art. Of the page 202smaller galleries the Sarjeant Gallery, Wanganui, and the Napier Gallery are, as yet, more notable as examples of architecture than as repositories of art, while the Suter Gallery, Nelson, may be singled out for its extensive collection of Gully's work.

Literary sources are few. For some details I am indebted to E. W. Calverley's unpublished thesis, History of Art and Art Education in New Zealand, a very painstaking account of pre-colonial and early colonial art and of the development of art societies and institutions. The main printed source is Art in New Zealand (Wellington, 1928-), published by its founder, H. H. Tombs. The twelve volumes of this quarterly with their many illustrations now constitute a most valuable record of New Zealand art, contemporary and past. For the National Centennial Exhibition of New Zealand Art there was published a special Catalogue (Wellington, 1940), containing an interesting introductory essay by A. H. McLintock, concise biographical notes on New Zealand artists, and a selection of reproductions. For reproductions of New Zealand art, particularly work of the earlier periods, readers are referred to the series of pictorial surveys, Making New Zealand (Wellington, 1939-40).