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A Life Lived Intensely: Alan Pearson Portraiture


Thu 4 Feb 2016, 10:30am–4:30pm
Fri 5 Feb 2016, 10:30am–4:30pm
Sat 6 Feb 2016, 10:30am–4:30pm
Sun 7 Feb 2016, 10:30am–4:30pm
Mon 8 Feb 2016, 10:30am–4:30pm

Where: New Zealand Portrait Gallery, Shed 11, Wellington Waterfront, Wellington

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

A Life Lived Intensely explores the relationship between Expressionist painter, Alan Pearson, his subjects and the individual experiences that lie behind each sitting. From his early years as an art student in Canterbury, to the many self-portraits completed while living in Australia, Alan has constantly pushed portraiture as a way to question and reveal the complexities of the human condition.

“Given the opportunity to study someone, I look for the moment behind the public mask. That moment relates to time, and its revelation, if it comes at all, will come in small fractures of time, like an unconscious moment, a turn or tilt of the head, a brief lifting of the mask that conceal their ‘innermost’ selves from view".- Alan Pearson quoted by Cassandra Fusco in "Portraits of an artist in a maverick genre" The Press, Christchurch, 27 March 1990

In 2013, Alan donated to the New Zealand Portrait Gallery a substantial number of drawn portraits covering the past seven decades of his artistic career. This donation is one of the gallery’s most significant gifts to date, and has become the catalyst for this exhibition. This show brings together a selection of these drawings and 25 of Alan’s expressive paintings borrowed from Public and Private Collections throughout the country.

Ask us about our childrens activity guide, available Free at the front desk.

Born in England in 1929, Alan Pearson first immigrated to Australia in 1951 before moving to New Zealand in 1954. In 1958 he won the Rosa Sawtell Prize for drawing, followed by the Bickerton- Widdowson scholarship in 1959 and a Queen Elizabeth Arts Council scholarship to study at the Royal Academy in London in 1964. He was the recipient of two further Arts Council travelling grants - in 1976 and 1989. In 1978 and 1979 he won two National Bank Portrait Awards.

He has exhibited internationally and within New Zealand, with a retrospective of his work “Heaven and Blood: Painting and Drawing” held at the McDougall Art Gallery in Christchurch in 1999. Alan is now based in Queensland, Australia with his wife Alison.

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