Topic: Arts

From Pilsen to Woodville

By Dean Nathan

The famous painter Gottfried Lindauer was born in the Czech Republic in 1839 and as a child his artistic talent was revealed, and over time he made his way to New Zealand.

This week his home town prepared to set up an exhibition of this renowned artist.

The son of a local gardener, Gottfried Lindauer was a still young adult when he painted himself.

Curator Eva Reitspiesova says, “When he was 16 years of age, he decided to go to Vienna Austria. He went alone. He went on foot and the distance is 350 kilometres from here and he enrolled in the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts.

Lindauer began painting religious themes depicting the four saints who wrote the new testament using his own image for the face of St John the Evangelist.

Eva Reitspiesova says, “And then he set up a studio here in Pilsen and he specialised in portraiture he made portraits of the local middle class citizens and it seems that he was quite successful and he had a good clientele here in Pilsen.”

It's believed that his anti-war stance and the loss of work due to the introduction of photography were major factors in Lindauer's decision to seek opportunities abroad and at the age of 34, he departed for New Zealand.

Eva Reitspiesova says, “When you look at the portraits of Pilsen citizens done in his 20s and the portraits of the Māori done decades later, he virtually kept the same style and technique all his life.”

Petr Simon says, “And now thanks to the portraits thanks to the exhibition we can discover more and we can find out more about your culture and both cultures so this is kind of like laying relationship and crossroad of cultures.”

The countdown has begun to the opening of one of the most prestigious exhibitions here for many years.

Tomorrow Te Kāea meet with the former mayor of Pilsen who now oversees all art exhibitions in this city which is acknowledged as the European Capital of Culture for 2015.