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An Emerging Talent, Early Works By Frances Hodgkins


Sun 4 Jun 2017, 10:00am–4:00pm

Where: Mahara Gallery, 20 Mahara Place, Waikanae, Kapiti Coast

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Listed by: info1389

We are very pleased to present a new exhibition on Frances Hodgkins opening in the month of her birth 148 years ago. She was born in Dunedin in 1869 to William Mathew and Rachel Hodgkins and grew up in an art-making family and supportive arts community.

However Hodgkins’ ambition outgrew its colonial setting and she left Dunedin for Europe in 1901, having learnt the basics of her craft, earned her qualifications to teach, and proven that she could make a basic, if parlours, living by selling her paintings, working on commissions and teaching.

Guest curator Victoria Robson has mapped Hodgkins’ early development through 21 works which span 1890 to 1913, the year of her final visit to New Zealand. She died in Dorchester, England in 1947, and her ashes were later retrieved and interred with her mother Rachel, sister Isabel and other family in a grave on the Field’s Ngarara Farm, now Waikanae cemetery.

Frances Hodgkins’ early years of development as an artist is now enmeshed with the story of the Field family after Isabel married Wellington lawyer and Waikanae farmer, Will Field, in 1893. They became key supporters and the caretakers of her works sent back from Europe for various exhibitions, and her spiritual home-base on two visits back between 1904-06, and 1912-1913.

Several paintings here are loaned from the Field Collection which holds 24 artworks by Frances Hodgkins. This is an important story in the cultural history of Kāpiti as well as the story of New Zealand’s pre-eminent expatriate artist.

We are very grateful to the Field Collection Trust for its ongoing support of Mahara Gallery as the future home of the Field Collection, when museum-standard facilities for its permanent storage, display and care have been achieved in partnership with Kāpiti Coast District Council. We are also very grateful to Hodgkins’ curator Avenal McKinnon who has loaned four artworks related to the Field Collection.

A further nine early Hodgkins’ works have been loaned by several private lenders related to the Field family, to whom we offer our sincere thanks. These include major paintings which have not been shown publically for sixty or more years. They add to our collective knowledge of Frances Hodgkins’ early development.

Her core interests and unique approach to colour are evident in this early work and remained central as she developed an increasingly experimental voice which was not readily accepted by New Zealand audiences. She was later recognised as a leading artist in the British avant-garde.

We are very grateful to the Deane Endowment Trust for their generous support which has enabled us to reproduce all of the works in a catalogue with an essay by Victoria Robson, whose work has added fresh insights to the artistic development of Frances Hodgkins.