Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Waikato exhibition opens window to historic art collection

Fifty years of art collecting will be showcased with a new exhibition at Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato, including the work of renowned artists Gretchen Albrecht, Max Gimblett, and Terry Stringer.

Open from Friday 23 February, Decades Charted: A window into the Chartwell Collection is an exhibition of artworks selected from the Chartwell Collection, a significant collection of New Zealand Aotearoa and Australian contemporary art which was established in Hamilton Kirikiriroa by Robert Gardiner in 1974.

“We welcome these key artworks back to Hamilton Kirikiriroa in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Chartwell Collection, and it has been a pleasure working with the Chartwell Trust to enable this to happen,” said Director of Museum and Arts, Liz Cotton.

“The exhibition features bold and colourful work purchased during the Trust’s Hamilton Kirikiriroa years, 1974 to 1997. It captures the vibrant and experimental art scene of the 1970s and 1980s, expressing a youthful break from post-war conservatism. Robert Gardiner’s vision means we can now revel in this golden age of New Zealand Aotearoa art,” she said.

In developing the Chartwell Trust and Chartwell Collection, founding Trustee Robert Gardiner held a steadfast commitment to support, widen access to and strengthen the visual arts culture in New Zealand Aotearoa, said Chartwell of Charitable Trust chair, Sue Gardiner.

“Now we can all celebrate, 50 years on, the value of a deeper understanding of creative visual thinking, for individuals, communities and cities into the future,” she said.

The Chartwell Collection was established in 1974 by Robert Gardiner CNZM, OMNZ, then a Hamilton businessman and accountant. As a privately-managed public collection, it was a new model for its time, as all acquisitions went immediately into public gallery care and use.

Chartwell’s time in Hamilton Kirikiriroa saw the Trust support Waikato Museum and significantly expand the Collection alongside a fast-paced exhibition programme at Chartwell’s Centre for Contemporary Art, established in 1982 at the former Hamilton Hotel on Victoria Street. The building is now being transformed into the Waikato Regional Theatre and retains the façade and iconic window shape of the original building.

As well as a unique cross-section of 20th century works by New Zealand Aotearoa artists,Decades Charted: A window into the Chartwell Collection features a remarkable series of photographs by Robin Morrison. The images were commissioned by Chartwell, and later gifted to Waikato Museum’s collection, to document the refurbishment of the Hamilton Hotel prior to the Centre for Contemporary Art opening in 1982.

The Chartwell Collection moved to Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki in 1997 and works are frequently loaned for exhibitions around New Zealand Aotearoa and overseas.

Decades Charted: A window into the Chartwell Collection is open daily from 10am to 5pm at Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato until 21 July 2024. Entry is free.
A Chartwell 50th Anniversary Project.

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