Petrus van der Velden

Petrus van der Velden

Petrus van der Velden: an art of two halves, which marks the 100 year anniversary of Van der Velden’s death in November 1913, opened recently in the Artist in Focus gallery in Nga Toi | Arts Te Papa.

Born in Rotterdam in 1837, Van der Velden arrived in New Zealand in 1890, as a mature artist with an established reputation in Dutch art circles. Vincent van Gogh described him as a ‘solid, serious painter’.

In the Netherlands, Van der Velden had focused on studies of everyday people, establishing his reputation painting village life in the island of Marken, near Amsterdam. But in New Zealand, he quickly found his muse in the dramatic landscape he found here.  It was during the 1890’s that Van der Velden discovered Otira Gorge on the West Coast, which provided him with his most successful and enduring subject, one that contributed to the revolution of New Zealand painting. He had turned his attention to capturing the rugged landscape in raw, expressive paintings.  Here’s a short video from Art Curator Rebecca Rice on Storm at Wellington Heads.

Tijana Cvetkovic, Conservator Paintings explains progress of the conservation treatment for the painting Marken funeral barge.

Tijana Cvetkovic, Conservator Paintings explains progress of the conservation treatment for the painting Marken funeral barge.

As the exhibition was being developed, and prior to the artwork being on display, Friends were offered the opportunity for a ‘back of house’ tour to the Conservation Laboratory at Tory Street to see what is undertaken to prepare art for public display.

At the time Marken funeral barge, about 1873-74,  was undergoing extensive and meticulous restoration, repairing earlier damage.  It is hard to believe the intact and glowing painting currently on display is the same painting we saw in the Laboratory.


Te Papa event in association with the exhibition

Remembering Van der Velden
Thursday 28 November, 3.30pm – 8pm

Remembering Van der Velden is a symposium comprising three separate events that you are welcome to attend. The Symposium is free and you can come to all or part of the programme.

3.30pm – 5.30pm: Seminars
A series of presentations on Van der Velden chaired by Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, Te Papa’s Head of Arts and Visual cultures. Dieuwertje Dekkers, Peter Vangioni, Rebecca Rice and Ann Shelton will each speak on an aspect of Van der Velden’s life.
Level 4 Classroom

6.15pm – 6.45pm: Floortalk
From Marken to Muriwai: Walking with Van der Velden and McCahon with Jonathan Mane-Wheoki.
Nga Toi | Arts Te Papa, Level 5

7pm – 8pm: Panel discussion
The legacy of Van der Velden
Chaired by Roger Blackley panellists Julie King, Peter Vangioni, Aaron Lister and Seraphine Pick will explore van der Velden’s legacy.
Nga Toi | Arts Te Papa, Level 5

See here for more detail on the programme and the speakers.

Feature image: Petrus van der Velden, Marken funeral barge, about 1873-74, oil on canvas. Gift of the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, 1936.