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Fall in Love with Romancing the Collection

Her First Love Letter by Marcus Stone, 1889 on oil canvas.

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki upcoming exhibition, Romancing the Collection, offers a love letter to the city’s public art collection.


From portraits to pop art and even a painting from Picasso, Romancing the Collection delves into portraiture, romance, vistas, animalia, still life and abstract works.


Exploring, all the complexities of love from first flirtation to unrequited and fickle love and even hidden desires.


Romancing the Collection provides a deep dive to present much-loved favourites alongside artworks that – perhaps – have been previously overlooked and under-loved. Blending the historical with the contemporary, the exhibition traverses time to show just how tastes have changed in the decades through which our city’s art collection has grown,” says director Kristen Lacy.


“In the 19th century, when the Gallery’s collection was first established, fashion favoured history, portrait, landscape, genre and still-life painting. Romancing the Collection allows for these works to be presented in a new way and for us to fall in love with them all over again.”


The exhibition opens with the remarkable Māori portraits, created in oils by 19th-century artists, Gottfried Lindauer and Charles F. Goldie.


It also includes the works of Allen Ramsay, Joshua Reynolds and Henry Raeburn.


Senior curator, Juliana Engberg says, quite literally, as society, styles and methodologies changed, we observe the evolution from highly mannered and managed sitters to portraits that introduce life and light to release bodies to cavort in space.


“Eventually, we see the painted portrait being overtaken by photography, which reintroduces formally with a knowing twist,” says Engberg.


Romancing the Collection will be opening on Saturday 14th August at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.

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