Each month a member of our community is invited to browse our online collection and select six of their favourite artworks. Each ‘My Choice’ selection, together with a personal response to the works, will be available to view on the Sarjeant Gallery website for one month at a time. The November instalment in the series has been selected by Doug Davidson. He states "I am the journalist for the River City Press, an occupation that continues to interest and challenge me, as the job covers virtually everything – well apart from murders, mayhem and scandals. While overseas we have taken the opportunity to visit art galleries, especially in Europe and North America, but some of the art I love the most actually comes from China and includes embroidery art as well as ‘primitive’ art."
These works from the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua collection are currently on display in our galleries at Sarjeant on the Quay in the following exhibitions: Wi Taepa - Retrospect until 24 November 2019 and Turn of a Century: A New Perspective on 100 years of Collecting & Exhibiting until 9 February 2020
The Sarjeant Gallery holds the Edith Collier Trust collection which encompasses the majority of Collier’s surviving output. The Gallery works in partnership with the Edith Collier Trust to document, display and manage the collection, which permanently resides with the Gallery. Whanganui born Edith Marion Collier (1885-1964) was a modernist and expatriate painter who worked alongside Frances Hodgkins and Margaret Preston in Europe from 1915 to the early 1920’s. On her return to Whanganui in 1922 her accomplished artwork and innovative ideas were met with incomprehension and criticism. She has since been properly acknowledged as contributing to the modernist development of NZ art history. The ECT collection comprises of over 470 items including archives and ephemera. In addition there are a further 30 works by Edith Collier in the Gallery’s permanent collection.
Works that have recently entered the Sarjeant Gallery collection.
Frank James Denton was born in Wellington in 1869 and worked as a successful commercial photographer in Whanganui from 1899 until 1927. In 1919, when the Sarjeant Gallery opened, Mayor Charles Mackay commissioned Denton to curate an international collection of art photography to form part of the new Sarjeant Gallery’s collection. In 1926 over 170 photographs gathered by Denton from around the world were exhibited at the Sarjeant Gallery. Subsequently 83 of the photographs were donated to the Gallery’s collection, making it the first Gallery in NZ to seriously collect photography.
The majority of the Sarjeant Gallery’s holdings of international artwork focuses on 18 th and 19 th Century British and European art. As a result of the early collecting trips to Europe by Ellen Neame (Henry Sarjeant’s widow) and John Armstrong Neame (her new husband) between 1913 – 1930, quite a number of the earlier works in the collection represent the conservative colonial taste in art at the time. The Gallery has continued to add to this collection both as a result of bequests and active purchases.
Early in 1917, in an effort to secure works for the Sarjeant Gallery’s early collection, Whanganui Mayor Charles Mackay began a letter writing campaign to cartoonists and magazine editors in most of the World War I allied countries. The response was remarkable and by 1918, when the war finally finished, the Gallery had nearly 120 cartoons from Australia, the United States of America and Britain. These works provide a unique snapshot into the political commentary of a turbulent period in our history.