Topic: Arts

Te Toi o Tāmaki in search of lost Gottfried Lindauer portraits

By Online News - Rereātea
  • Auckland

Gottfried Lindauer, Tamati Waka Nene, 1890, Auckland Art Gallery, Gift of Mr H E Partridge 1915

Te Toi o Tāmaki (The Auckland Art Gallery) is seeking help from the public to uncover more Māori portraits by artist Gottfried Lindauer. More than 100 portraits are yet to be discovered. 

Newly found portraits will help further the Gallery’s research for an extensive exhibition about the artist that will open in October. 

Auckland Art Gallery Director Rhana Devenport says, "They document an important period in our country’s history and are proudly displayed in gallery and museum collections throughout New Zealand.

The Gallery's Curator of Māori Art Nigel Borrell says some portraits could be stored away in family collections or tucked away and forgotten about. 

"We want to piece together the puzzle of Lindauer’s prolific painting career to learn more about him.

These Lindauer artworks could be sitting on mantelpieces, in marae meetinghouses, forgotten under beds or at grandparents’ houses around the country," he says.

Lindauer’s portraits of Māori chiefs and leaders of the 19th and early 20th centuries remain hugely significant as records and reminders of New Zealand’s history and heritage.

One portrait, known as Heeni Hirini and child, is estimated to have been painted by the artist up to 30 times throughout the course of his career.

Borell says he is aware of 12 versions of Heeni Hirini and child but would like to find more.

Anyone who may have a portrait in their possession is asked to contact the Auckland Art Gallery.