Significant works loaned to gallery

The Dunedin Public Art Gallery has been given, on long-term loan, a substantial collection of artworks by late New Zealand artist Gordon Walters.

Walters (1919-95) was a leading figure in the New Zealand modernist movement and had a productive career over four decades.

He was known for his fusion of abstract modernism with traditional Maori art and stylised koru paintings.

''Walters is unquestionably one of New Zealand's most important artists and we are thrilled to be bringing such a comprehensive body of his work to Dunedin,'' Dunedin Public Art Gallery director Cam McCracken said this week.

''We only have a relatively small number of Walters' works in the DPag collection so, to bring more in complements the gallery's collection perfectly.''

The long-term loan from the Walters estate included significant large works on canvas, works on paper and archival material, Mr McCracken said.

''The Walters loan contains personal archival material, so will be an incredibly valuable research tool.''

The loan continued a century-old tradition of artists supporting New Zealand's first public art gallery.

''The gallery's funds for the purchase of works are very limited and we have been fortunate to receive ... gifts and long-term loans from artists and art patrons, which have enabled us to maintain and grow the richness and significance of our collection,'' Mr McCracken said.

''Private patronage played a very significant part in the development of this collection in the past and it is pleasing to see that this kind of support continues.''

Trustee Gregg Schneideman said the Walters estate was pleased the works would be cared for by a major public institution.

''We are thrilled to be working with the Dunedin Public Art Gallery to ensure that Walters' artistic legacy continues to shape and inform the direction of contemporary art in New Zealand.''

An exhibition featuring some of the works is being planned.

nigel.benson@odt.co.nz

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