Missing Louise Henderson artwork to go on display in Chch

The Lakes (triptych), Louise Henderson, 1965.
The Lakes (triptych), Louise Henderson, 1965.
A recently rediscovered painting by acclaimed Kiwi artist Dame Louise Henderson will be on display at the Christchurch Art Gallery next month.

The missing artwork, named April, will be transported to Christchurch as part of the Louise Henderson: From Life exhibition, which was jointly developed by Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū and Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.

The painting was located earlier this year at Auckland’s Mount Albert Grammar School after ‘disappearing’ from the New Zealand art world for more than two decades. 

It is part of a privately owned collection of works that was purchased for display at the school.

Henderson created the 12 large-scale paintings in 1987 when she was 85, and curators working on the exhibitions had located 11 of these by the time the exhibition opened in Auckland. (It was decided not to display August, which has been altered since it was first exhibited.)

Mt Albert Grammar School board chairman Greg Moyle and Auckland Art Gallery secondary schools...
Mt Albert Grammar School board chairman Greg Moyle and Auckland Art Gallery secondary schools educator Luise Fong with the rediscovered Louise Henderson painting, April. Photo: NZH / Jason Oxenham
Visitors to the exhibition in Christchurch will have the rare opportunity to view 11 of the colourful abstract Months, shown side by side.

Christchurch Art Gallery lead curator Felicity Milburn said this long-awaited survey exhibition offers an unforgettable journey through Henderson’s seven-decade career.

“Henderson arrived in Christchurch from France in 1925 with the dream of being a painter, and left it 15 years later as a recognised professional artist,” said Milburn, who co-curated the exhibition alongside Lara Strongman and Julia Waite.

“While here, she formed friendships with significant local artists such as Rita Angus, and later described the social and creative freedom of those early years in New Zealand as ‘like opening a door for a bird to fly’. She went on to become a pioneer of abstraction who remained intensely engaged with the world around her.

“We are absolutely delighted to be able to temporarily reunite April with the Months series.”

Many of the most significant works in the exhibition, including four of the Months paintings, were donated to Christchurch Art Gallery in 1999 as part of a major gift by the family of Henderson.

  • Louise Henderson: From Life will be on display at the Christchurch Art Gallery from June 27 to October 11.







Local trusted journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Star Media journalists and photographers continue to report local stories that matter everyday - yours.

For more than 152 years our journalists have provided Cantabrians with local news that can be trusted. It’s more important now than ever to keep Cantabrians connected.

As our advertising has fallen during the pandemic, support from you our reader is crucial.

You can help us continue to provide local news you can trust simply by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter