Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Beautiful publication

Gottfried Lindauer’s New Zealand: The Maori Portraits
Edited by Ngahiraka Mason and Zara Stanhope 

What a stunning volume!
  For those of us who have grown up aware of the artistic legacy of Gottfried Lindauer, it is a joy to find this appreciation of his life and works presented in such a way.

  The large-format (310 x 206 mm), hard covered, 284 page book is a beautiful publication divided into three parts.
   Part 1 is made up of 54 pages of a series of essays by experts – Patu Hohepa, Rhana Devenport, Elizabeth Ellis, Ngahiraka Mason, Zara Stanhope, Aleš Filip, Roman Musil, and Leonard Bell. Each contributes their tribute to and discussion of the New Zealand portfolio of this Austrian-born artist. From these, anyone not formerly aware of his work can learn how much we owe to his pictorial record of the people of this country, produced over more than four decades from the 1870s.
    Lindauer is of course best known here for his portraits of Maori of the period, and these are what makes up Part 2 of the volume.
Sixty-seven plates are beautifully presented, one portrait per page, with a description (by Ngahiraka Mason, or Nigel Borell) of the subject and some background, on the facing page.
     The best-known of these will be immediately recognized by a large proportion of New Zealanders. Some, such as those of Tamati Waka Nene (cover pic), Eruera Maihi Patuone, Wiremu Tamihana, Tawhiao Matutaera Potatau Te Wherowhero, Rewi Manga Maniapoto, Hamiora Tu, Te Ua Haumene Horopapera Tuwhakararo and more, have been reproduced in many works of history in the years since.
     The same is true of the wahine mana and wahine toa included, such as Rangi Topeora, Huria Matenga Ngarongoa, Pare Watene, Pikirakau, Te Paea Hinerangi, and Heeni Hirini whose image the artist repeated over and over.
      Without Lindauer’s paintings we would have no likeness of most of his subjects.
    A further 8 plates present his scenes of Maori life and customs, which are perhaps even more reproduced and well-known.

     Part 3 extends the appreciation of the artist’s works beyond New Zealand, through a series of further essays on his photography and paintings of European subjects, his techniques, and chronology – these contributed by Ute Larsen, Jane Davidson-Ladd, Sarah Hillary, Chanel Clarke, Ngarino Ellis, Kahutoi Te Kanawa, Ngahiraka Mason, and Caroline McBride.

     A glossary, notes, select bibliography, acknowledgements, and notes on contributors complete this handsome volume, which is a splendid addition to the library of anyone with any degree of interest in the art or the history of New Zealand. 

Flaxflower Review by Paua Blue
Title: Gottfried Lindauer’s New Zealand: The Maori Portraits
Editors: Ngahiraka Mason, Zara Stanhope
Publisher: Auckland University Press
ISBN: 978 1 86940 856 5
RRP: $75
Available: bookshops

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