Wednesday, October 09, 2013

A must-have book for every lover of New Zealand and its art.

Landscape Paintings of New Zealand: A Journey from North to South
Author: Christopher Johnstone

Publication: 11 October 2013
Godwit - Hardback - RRP: $75.00

When Landscape Paintings of New Zealand: A Journey from North To South was first published in 2006 it received much acclaim. Now with 32 new paintings joining the 103 of the original edition, this book is even more a must-have for every book shelf and coffee table.

In this revised edition Christopher Johnstone has gathered together 135 stunning paintings, both traditional and contemporary, in a fascinating and lavishly illustrated large-format hardback book that celebrates our rich artistic history and New Zealanders’ connection to our landscape.

It is studded with arresting works by well-known artists such as Colin McCahon, Peter Sidddell, Dick Frizzell, Doris Lusk, Rita Angus, John Gully, and many many more famous names from New Zealand art history. In addition, the book offers an opportunity for readers to acquaint themselves with lesser known (these days at least) painters such as Thomas Drummond, Max Walker, Cedric Savage and Douglas MacDiarmid.   

‘The overarching themes remain the same: the quality and beauty of the paintings; the calibre and reputations of the artists; the “beauty spots” and regions depicted; and an emphasis on pure landscape, and its corollary, the avoidance of landscapes that feature people, and the man-made and historical events,’ explains Christopher Johnstone.

‘The revisions include some minor corrections and updates of the bibliography and artists’ biographies, especially of the artists who, sadly, have died since the first edition was published:  Douglas Badcock, Don Binney, Austen Deans, Ian Scott, Peter Siddell and Colin Wheeler. They all knew, walked and loved the land.’ 
The 32 new landscapes include, he goes on to say, some’ more well-known and popular paintings, landscapes by foreign artists, and modernist landscapes on the cusp of lyrical abstraction, as well as a focus on including regions not previously represented.’

‘While the book is packed with discoveries which will keep the art experts happy, it’s also for lovers of New Zealand and lovers of New Zealand art, who will enjoy seeing the country as our great painters have seen it over the years,’ says Random House Publishing Director, Nicola Legat.

’Christopher has established fascinating links between the artists and the paintings and it’s terrific to have these connections made. As a determined researcher, he has unearthed previously unknown information and pieced together pieces of hitherto incomplete puzzles. Many of the artists, particularly from the 1930s and 1940s, are no longer household names but their work is outstanding and it will be exciting for readers to discover or rediscover them.’
‘Plus, by the time readers have got to the last page they’ll have had a delightful and accessible introduction to New Zealand landscape painting.’

Intriguing stories revealed include:
– The return of the missing Drummond
– ‘Rediscovering’ Max Walker
– The painting that was removed from the Auckland Art Gallery collection and given to Her Majesty the Queen Mother
– The sad story of Edith Collier who was our finest modernist artist but whose father burned her paintings
– How a boat trip to Milford Sound led to the painting of the most widely exhibited painting of NZ
– The professor of obstetrics who sailed to NZ, stayed a few weeks, painted a picture and took the next boat back to England
– The painting thought to be a fake in a review by an art historian at Victoria University
And many more!

With its biographical notes on each artist, extensive bibliography, fascinating insights into social history and art history, and with a beautiful new design and very high production values, this publication marks the welcome return of a handsome and important book.

About the Author:
A former director of the Auckland Art Gallery, Christopher Johnstone now works for the Auckland Philharmonia. He is the author of Landscape Paintings of New Zealand, an exploration of New Zealand through the eyes of our greatest landscape painters, and the Montana Book of the Year finalist The Painted Garden in New Zealand Art, the story of our gardening history as it intersected with our cultural and artistic development.

Born in Sydney, Johnstone grew up in England and Ireland. He studied art history in the United States where he graduated from Bennington College in 1971. He began his art museum career as a curator at the Tate Gallery and, after holding senior positions at the National Galleries of Scotland, the Art Gallery of Western Australia and the Art Gallery of South Australia, he became director of the Auckland Art Gallery (1988–1995). He has written a book on John Martin.

He lives in Grey Lynn, Auckland with his wife, Louise


Mark Hubbard said...

Who is the painter of the book cover Graham? Just if you know. I'm not that up on visual arts, but I love that.

Austen Deans, b/4 his move to Chch, was just down the road from us in Geraldine (Peel Forest). We had him paint the view from a prior house we owned into Mount Peel. Painting has our lawn and brick retaining work (on a hill). It was so cold he had to use a Bunsen burner to keep paints heated. I think even then he was early 90's, but still managed to polish off the better part of a bottle of red with us :) Painting still takes pride of place on the wall (in the Sounds).

He a was a lovely man. Some of his big works in Peel Forest are spectacular.

Beattie's Book Blog said...

Cedric Savage is the artist Mark, and it is entitled Aftermath.1953.

Mark Hubbard said...

Cheers. Might look for some prints.