Tuesday, August 14, 2007


All The Raft of the Medusa copies that poured in from readers reminded us of another painting in the Louvre that has strong connections with New Zealand. When curating the exhibition When Art Hits The Headlines, we came across a black and white photograph of a painting by Bill Sutton. He had made it in response to a controversy from 1948. A committee of the Christchurch City Council had refused to accept Pleasure Garden by Frances Hodgkins into the Robert McDougall Art Gallery collection after it had been purchased by public subscription. Sutton was at art school in London at the time of the controversy and probably saw the Denis painting on a visit to Paris. It would have been fresh in his mind then when he returned to New Zealand in 1950. The Denis painting shows the artists in the Vollard Gallery admiring Cezanne’s Fruit-dish, Glass and Apples.
Images: Top, Homage to Cezanne 1900 by Maurice Denis (from left to right: Redon, Vuillard, Mellerio, Vollard, Denis, Sérusier, Ranson, Roussel, Bonnard et Mme Denis. Bottom, Homage to Frances Hodgkins 1951 by W A Sutton (from left to right: W.A. Sutton, Doris Holland, Colin McCahon, Heathcote Helmore, Margaret Frankel, Beth Zanders, R.S. Lonsdale, Alan Brassington, John Oakley and Oliver Spencer Bower.