Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ian Prior 1924-2009

A long time ago we visited Ian and Elespie Prior’s home in Wellington. It was to attend a meeting to come up with some ideas for the Wellington Sculpture Trust. Can’t remember the outcome, but anyway we were distracted by the paintings that covered practically every flat surface as well as being stacked behind doors and against furniture. An unframed McCahon canvas was hanging across the top of the bay window and while Ian muttered something about needing to get it out of the sun, it had obviously been there since they had purchased it. The collection had that chaotic charm that comes with objects that are all loved and all need to accommodate each other somehow. Elespie died some time ago but Ian kept up his enthusiasm for the arts even though it had obviously been such a shared pleasure. Now the news that Ian too has died. Ian was a dedicated collector of contemporary art and something of an OTN icon, given our obsession with the Trust’s obsession with tall pointy sculpture. We’ll miss him.
Image: Len Lye’s Water Whirler