Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The real thing

We’ve always been fascinated by those then-and-now photographs showing where artists made iconic paintings: Cezanne’s Sainte-Victoire, the house that served as a model for Eward Hopper’s House by the railroad, that sort of thing. 

Closer to home, a couple of New Zealand bloggers have been scouting out the locations of New Zealand art works. You can see Lara Strongman at work here and Pauline Dawson chasing up the locations of famous studios here.

Toward the end of the eighties we tried to persuade the City Gallery to let us do an exhibition looking at the life and work of Peter McIntyre. Our angle was how his paintings had struck such a chord with New Zealanders while being virtually banished from its public art galleries. The exhibition never got off the ground but during the process we got to know Peter and his wife Patty and spent some very entertaining days with them both in Wellington and at their holiday home in Kakahi. While we walked around the small village Peter pointed out the locations for some of the paintings he’d made for his 1973 book Kakahi

Here are a couple of them to show how McIntyre observed the small rural town and how little it had changed over the 15 years after the book was published. Nowadays it is a different story

Images: Top, the main street of Kakahi in 1988 and Peter McIntyre’s early seventies painting. Bottom, McIntyre’s painting of the local marae and the same spot in 1988 when new carvings were being added to the house. The tarpaulins closed the site off to women.