A waterfall in the Otira Gorge 1891
PETRUS VAN DER VELDEN [1837-1913 Dutch/New Zealand]
Oil on canvas
Collection of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery
Purchased 1893 with funds from the Otago Art Society
A veteran of Holland’s Hague School who emigrated to Aotearoa New Zealand in 1890, Petrus van der Velden had to travel from the orderly and flat land of Christchurch to the Otira Gorge to find a landscape as large as his ambitions. To van der Velden, Otira represented Genesis-country and the many paintings he made of this landscape offer front-row seats to the Creation. ‘I serve my God in studying Nature’, he wrote, and every brushstroke in this painting is fired by the romantic faith that nature is the canvas of God.