Award winning landscape paintings come to Ashburton


Thirty-two paintings from the Kelliher Art Trust collection will be on display at the Ashburton Art Gallery from August 08 to October 2, 2022. The exhibition, curated by Curator of the Kelliher Art Trust Christopher Johnsonwill be coming to Ashburton as part of his
South Island Tour Schedule for 2021-2023. It includes Kelliher Prize winners, subsequent purchases and works recently commissioned by the Trust.

Visitors will discover works by renowned New Zealand artists, including Austen Deans, Colin Wheeler, Douglas Badcock, Dick Frizzell and Michael Smither.

The Collection was established in 1956 by visionary businessman and philanthropist Sir Henry Kelliher. A long-time patron of the arts, Sir Henry established the Kelliher Art Competition, “to capture the grandeur of the New Zealand scene in all its changes through the seasons”, as he described it. The objective of the competition was to encourage realistic depictions of New Zealand’s landscapes and the ways of life of its people for the world to see.

Although the traditional style and subject matter challenged some artists and critics inclined towards modernist paintings, the Kelliher, as it soon came to be known, quickly became New Zealand’s premier art event. The price for the winning painting by a New Zealand artist was a sum close to the average annual salary in the country at the time. The Kelliher Art Competition, later called the Kelliher Art Prize, was held almost annually until 1977, when it had expanded its scope to include portrait and genre painting. In recent years the collection has been updated by occasional purchases of landscape paintings by more recent established artists. Since 2015, the Trust has commissioned a painting from an emerging landscape artist each year to honor Sir Henry’s original aim of encouraging New Zealand landscape painting.

The South Island Traveling Exhibition,
Rare and Unparalleled Beauty
– Landscape paintings in the Kelliher Art Trust Collection, comprise about a third of the Trust’s collection. A free and illustrated exhibition catalog is available to all visitors.

Alongside the exhibition, art historian and curator Dr Mark Stocker will give a lecture at the gallery: “The Kelliher Paintings: A New Zealand Phenomenon”, on August 31 at 5:00 p.m.

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