22 Aug 2012
Te Papa is pleased to announce that Colin McCahon's painting Landscape theme and variations: series B (1963) has recently enteredthe national art collection.
The work, which consists of eight large panels, was gifted to the Museum by the Arts Council of New Zealand.
“Colin McCahon is widely recognised as one of New Zealand's most remarkable artists of the Twentieth Century. The addition of this painting strengthens Te Papa's collection and ensures that the work is able to be shared with New Zealanders and international visitors alike so Te Papa is delighted to accept this very generous offer", says Michael Houlihan, Chief Executive of Te Papa. To mark this occasion, the painting has been placed on public display in the Level 5 art galleries.
"The gifting of this major work formalises a long standing arrangement which will ensure that this national taonga receives the best care and will be available to future generations of New Zealanders," said Creative New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright.
Te Papa holds 71 works by McCahon, who is widely regarded as New Zealand’s pre-eminent 20th century artist. Landscape theme and variations: series B has specific connections with other McCahon works in Te Papa’s collection, including the Northland panels (1958), North Otago landscape no. 2 (1967), Practical religion: the resurrection of Lazarus sowing Mount Martha (1969-70), and Ahipara (1970). More generally, the physical and metaphorical journeys Landscape theme and variations: series B evokes are a feature of Te Papa’s other large scale works, The Second Gate Series (1962) and Series C (Walk) (1973).
The painting and the two organisations has an interesting history. In 1963 the painting was selected by the then Arts Advisory Council for donation to the National Art Gallery. At that time the gift was declined by the Gallery. The Arts Council acquired the work itself in 1966 and the painting was subsequently included in several exhibitions of contemporary New Zealand art that toured nationally and internationally. The work has been on long term loan to Te Papa since 1983 and formally entered the national art collection in late 2011.