Frances Hodgkins


29 April 2012 - 26 May 2013

In keeping with the strong links between the Hodgkins family and the foundation of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, from the 1950s, the Gallery has made a special effort to collect the works of Frances Hodgkins (1869-1947). These efforts have been rewarded with the Gallery being fortunate to be able to make a number of significant additions to its holdings of works by this important artist.

In the last two years the Gallery has acquired five paintings by Hodgkins and they are all featured in this exhibition, which honours the 143rd anniversary of her birthday. An annual celebration of her birthday is held in recognition of the artist’s great following in this community and to provide a range of perspectives on Hodgkins unique contribution to New Zealand’s art history.  

When the exhibitions curators considered the new purchases as a group, they were struck again by the variety and versatility, vibrancy and consistency of this artists practice. From her early period water colours, which apply such an astute degree of observation, sensitivity and love of pattern and colour to the pleasures of everyday life, through to her later abstractions, which demonstrate her consummate ability to render into forms, and compositionally choreograph, the elements of whatever subject she is depicting.

Kaleidoscope aims to demonstrate how some of these new works, link aesthetically with others from the existing collection, bringing to the fore, the artists distinct facility with colour, form and pattern. At times, she so transformed the depiction of the world around her that her paintings hover towards a surrealistic interpretation. It is this element which is being lightly touched upon in this exhibition.

The Frances Hodgkins Gallery provides a unique opportunity for curators to produce an ongoing series of focused, boutique and distinctive exhibitions around this artist’s practice. With this in mind, and with the aim of continuing to present a fresh and lively interpretation, the curators of Kaleidoscope, Aaron Kreisler and Robyn Notman, have chosen a vivid colour for the space. The colour choice was in part, inspired by having seen a recent hang of works by André Derain, set against a similar palette at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris.

It is with great pleasure that the Dunedin Public Art Gallery presents these new paintings to you. The Gallery and the City take pride in being able to grow and enhance the holdings of works by this singular artist, and every year remember her connections to Dunedin and its community, and the important place she holds in the history of New Zealand art.

View the exhibition labels – click here

« Back to past exhibitions