Kāpiti Gallery gets Great Gift

A landmark painting by one of the greats of New Zealand landscape painting, Peter McIntyre, has been gifted to raise money to keep the Field Collection in Kāpiti.

Paekākāariki couple Jannie and Don Hunn have offered the work to Waikanae’s Mahara Gallery to help raise funds for the Gallery’s redevelopment project.

It will become part of a Mahara Gallery exhibition scheduled to open in December of this year and then be offered with the other works in the exhibition for sale in an auction in February next year.

The money raised will contribute to enabling the Gallery, The Kāpiti District Gallery, to house and exhibit the Field Collection of 44 paintings, 24 of them by New Zealand’s most celebrated expatriate painter, Frances Hodgkins.

The collection has been offered to the Gallery on condition it is upgraded to museum standard.

The painting, Plimmer House, was originally commissioned by Jannie’s father Leo Tattersfield. He owned the property many years before it was transformed from a modest gentleman’s residence into the Boulcott Street Bistro that it is today.

“My father was a wool buyer and he used the area where the turret is now to store his wool samples,” says Jannie.

“I worked for him in the building. His office was in the area where everyone now sits and eats.

“It’s not an easy painting to part with but I feel my father would have been very supportive of the gift to help Mahara Gallery, not least if it contributes to keeping the Field Collection in Kāpiti.”

Leo Tattersfield sold the building when he moved to Auckland. Jannie says it was offered at one point to Wellington City Council and there were plans to move it to the Botanical Gardens. In the end, it did move, but only forward on its current site.

Peter McIntyre is considered one of New Zealand’s most respected painters. His paintings of cities and landscapes continue to make him one of the most recognizable New Zealand artists of the 20th century.

He is also remembered by many as the painter appointed by General Fryberg in 1941 to be New Zealand’s official Second World War artist.

“My father knew Peter well,” says Jannie. “He even came to our wedding and as a wedding present gave us a painting of the Shotover River. It’s still on a wall in our house.

“My father bought a number of his paintings. At that time we lived in Eastbourne and Peter lived in Brooklyn. When my father came home, my mother would say, ‘not another painting’!”

Mahara Gallery Acting Director Amanda Smart says the Gallery is thrilled to receive the gift.

“It is a very generous offer,” she says. “We have been surprised and pleased at the quality of the works that have been offered to us so far but this one is exceptional.”

Ms Smart says it is vital that the Gallery redevelopment proceeds.

“The Field Collection contains the largest collection of Frances Hodgkins paintings outside the four main centres.

“If we can’t upgrade the Gallery, we risk losing the collection. That would be a huge cultural and economic blow to the district.”

The redevelopment project is a partnership between the Gallery, the Field Collection Trust and Kāpiti Coast District Council.