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Talk: Francis Pound on Gordon Walters

Friday 29 September 2023, 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

$25.00 – $30.00

Visiting Auckland University Professor, Art Historian and Author Leonard Bell will give us wonderful insight on both the art of Gordon Walters (1919-1995) and the writing of Francis Pound (1948-2017), in particular his just-published monograph on Walters (Auckland University Press, September 2023) and the circumstances of its writing and publication.  Francis started work on the monograph about 2000 and the manuscript was not completed when he died after a long illness. In a note on this book’s progress in early 2017 he wrote ‘Introduction and Conclusion yet to do. They will be the hardest’. Enter Leonard Bell to complete these and publish the work and share with us his knowledge!

What Pound had written, though, is remarkable – the result of the most intensive research ever of Walters’ paintings, drawings and collages from the late 1930s to 1995. The book traces Walters’ steps and missteps, his travel overseas, the technical and formal features of his art, its material and aesthetic qualities, as well as the ideas that informed his work, whether elements from Euro-American abstraction, surrealism, minimalism and conceptual art or Maori and Pacific art. All this is described in almost forensic detail.

Len will discuss how Francis places Walters’ art and thought in an international and cosmopolitan context, rather than only in a national or culturally nationalist one, in relation to which he will also comment on the nature of the relationships between Walters’ paintings and Maori art and how Francis’s Gordon Walters invites us to review those encounters.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.

Leonard (Len) Bell taught Art History at the University of Auckland for many years.  His books include The Maori in European Art: A Survey of the representation of the Maori by European artists from the time of Captain Cook to the present day (1980), Colonial Constructs: European Images of Maori 1840-1914 (1992), In Transit: Questions of Home and Belonging in New Zealand Art (2007), Marti Friedlander (2009), From Prague to Auckland: the photography of Frank Hofmann 1916-1989 (2011), Jewish Lives in New Zealand: A History (co-edited, 2012), Strangers Arrive: Emigres and the Arts in New Zealand 1930-1980 (2017), Marti Friedlander: Portraits of the Artists (2020) and the Foreword and Afterword for his close friend Francis Pound’s (1948-2017), Gordon Walters (September 2023). He has also written many book chapters and articles on the visual arts, both historical and contemporary. These have been published in Australia, Great Britain, USA, Czechia, Germany and Japan, besides New Zealand.
Image credits: Above: Untitled Abstract, 1954; Gordon Walters. Right: Gordon Walters, 1978; Marti Friedlander. Left: Black Centre, 1971; Gordon Walters.



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Friday 29 September 2023
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
$25.00 – $30.00
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Friends of Te Papa
(04) 381 7051


Te Huinga Centre, Level 3, Te Papa
55 Cable Street, Wellington
Wellington, 6011 New Zealand
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