By Purchase, Gift or Bequest
Works from the Collection
29 July 2017 - 23 October 2017
The Dunedin Public Art Gallery collection was founded in 1884, borne from a desire to create a significant art collection for the city of Dunedin. From the beginning, the Gallery aspired to collect important works of art that could educate, inspire and contribute to a national and international dialogue around art and culture. Over time this collection has continued to develop, supporting artistic innovation and new ideas.
By purchase, gift or bequest explores the most recent collecting activity of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, presenting key works that have been acquired by the Gallery since 2012. The diversity of these works reflects the early ambitions for the collection; bringing together historic and contemporary works by both New Zealand and International artists. Considering the various ways that these works have entered the collection – By purchase, gift or bequest – provides a view into the network of individuals who believe in, support, and invest in the future of the Gallery.
Dunedin Public Art Gallery runs an active programme of acquisitions, ranging from important historic paintings through to new work by contemporary artists. New works by Jeffrey Harris, Kushana Bush, Kim Pieters and Martin Thompson present a view of the diversity and strength of contemporary art in Dunedin. Robin White’s Harbour Cone (1972) is an important work celebrating one of Otago’s iconic landmarks, its purchase supported by members of the Gallery community. In recent years, the Gallery has collected major works from DPAG artist projects, including Steve Carr’s Transpiration – offshoots (2014) and Periphery (2013-15) by Seung Yul Oh.
Historically the Dunedin Public Art Gallery has greatly benefited from patronage in the form of gifted artworks, with recent years no exception. Since 2012 there have been significant gifts into the collection, at the heart of which is the gift of nine works by New Zealand artists from the private collection of Jim Barr and Mary Barr. The Wellington-based art collectors have provided the Gallery crucial support in the area of contemporary New Zealand art since 1997, when they generously offered 120 works to the Gallery on long-term loan and gifted 30 works to the Gallery’s permanent collection.
It is a privileged position for the Dunedin Public Art Gallery to be written into someone’s last will and testament. Throughout the Gallery’s history, significant works of art have been bequeathed to the collection; both individual items and larger bodies of work that are representative of a substantial private collection. In 2012, the Gallery receive the bequest of a large body of work by Frederick (Fred) Charles William Staub (1919-2012), an Otago Freemason, art educator and artist. Staub’s gift includes a major collection of Japanese prints as well as significant works of New Zealand modernism.