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Gottfried Lindauer - Painter of the New Zeland Māori

Date: 06 May 2015 - 20 September 2015, Venue: Gallery of West Bohemia, Exhibition hall Masné krámy

The exhibition is one of the main projects of Pilsen – the European Capital of Culture 2015.

We have the pleasure to invite all the art lovers and friends of New Zealand to this exhibition where The Consulate of the Czech Republic in Sydney  has been involved in the exhibition plans from the early stage, when in March 2012 the vice-consul visited Auckland Art Gallery and made the first personal contact with the curator of the Maori art and then regularly every year. We wish the exhibition lots of visitors.

Gottfried Lindauer (1839–1926) is known in the Czech lands only to a narrow group of experts on the 19th century painting, and possibly ethnologists, thanks to a collection of objects from New Zealand in the Náprstek Museum in Prague which includes his portraits of a Maori chieftain and a Maori woman and a number of objects related to the Maori way of life donated by Gottfried Lindauer to the museum, as well as part of his correspondence.

The exhibition and accompanying publication at the Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen is intended to introduce individual stages of Lindauer’s work: the artist was originally educated at the Academy of Arts in Vienna as a painter of religious history paintings and later he earned his living as a painter of burgher portraits. After he immigrated to New Zealand in 1874 he built up an abundant clientele of his supporters, not only among the colonial British people but among chief representatives of individual Maori tribes as well. Nowadays it is especially this collection of portraits of outstanding Maori chieftains which is primarily esteemed – not only as a fine example of Lindauer’s artistic skill, but even more for the sake of the depicted personalities who were shaping the modern history of New Zealand and who are especially precious to the Maori nation as their distinguished ancestors.

Although in New Zealand a considerable publishing attention has been devoted to Gottfried Lindauer so far, not even there his comprehensive monograph has been published. Many aspects of his work have not been systematically reflected yet. The aim of the Lindauer exhibition and publication in the Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen in the year 2015 is to remedy this shortcoming. Lindauer’s work has never been presented in a monographic form which would introduce both his European and New Zealand chapters of his work side by side.

The reflection on the work of Gottfried Lindauer requires an extension from the standard art history discipline to the theory of visual culture, from ethnology to postcolonial discourse and from documentary function of painting to its broader spiritual meanings.
The Gottfried Lindauer exhibition and publication is realized within the programme of Pilsen – the European Capital of Culture in the year 2015, which is supported by the European Union as one of its major cultural events. In the frame of the project, Gottfried Lindauer has been elected one of the four icons of Pilsen that significantly represent the city in which they were born.

The Gottfried Lindauer exhibition in Pilsen received an expression of support from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Karel Schwarzenberg and his New Zealand counterpart Murray McCully when they held a meeting in Prague on 25 April 2013. Peter Rider, the New Zealand Ambassador for the countries of Central Europe based in Berlin supported the project during his visit to Pilsen and the Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen on 25 September 2013.

Authors of the exhibition and the accompanying publication: Roman Musil (Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen) and Aleš Filip (Masaryk University)

Curator of the exhibition: Eva Reitspiesová, in cooperation with Petra Kočová (Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen)

Most of the Maori portraits were provided on loan from the Auckland Art Gallery.

Text was provided by the West Bohemia Gallery  http://www.zpc-galerie.cz