The Battle Plan for Genghis Khan

Philip Trusttum, Artist

This is one of the paintings in our collection. It was made in New Zealand in 1968.
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Object Detail

About the Work
Within the first week or so of starting as exhibitions technician at the gallery a Philip Trusttum exhibition arrived from the New Vision Gallery in Auckland. This was my first introduction to Trusttum’s work and I was an enthusiastic fan from that point on.
As director, one of the first exhibitions that I thought important to be done was a survey show of the work of Philip Trusttum – who was a major figure in New Zealand’s contemporary scene. I contacted Philip and he responded with great enthusiasm. Ultimately that show was a survey 1962–1979. In that process we discovered we were both born in Raetihi – him some eight years prior to me. We formed a connection that lasts until this day. He is my closest artist friend.
In bringing the exhibition together there were two works in particular, owned by Mr and Mrs Mason in Auckland, that we both felt were essential for the exhibition. They are the Persian Garden (After Bonnard) and The Battle Plan of Genghis Khan. The second is an absolute standout and, in my mind, perhaps Trusttum’s most outstanding work – a thought confirmed by the art dealer Peter Webb who felt it was a painting that he could easily place in MOMA. It comes from a series of paintings that Philip did evolving from his reading at the time about Persia and the central Middle East.
The Battle Plan of Genghis Khan is the size and scale of a Persian rug over which lines of colour and activity float. It in many ways sums up Trusttum’s ability to paint in a bold and graphic way, and yet at the same time present delicate and seductive detail. Amongst the many Trusttum’s I have now seen and admire, it remains the best. The Gallery considered it so important that at the close of the Trusttum survey exhibition tour both works were purchased from the Masons with the support of the Friends of the Sarjeant Gallery.
Bill Milbank, ArtZone 29 August 2019
Image 1824 x 2440mm
Frame 1835 x 2451mm
oil on board
Abstract multi coloured work with a dark border and what could be an aerial map in the centre.
Credit Line
Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui. Purchased with assistance from Members of the Gallery, 1985.
Collection Type
Permanent collection
Acquisition Date
Mar 1985



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