The late, great and often controversial Sir Paul Holmes will be remembered for his services to New Zealand journalism, but outside of his illustrious broadcasting career, Holmes, and his wife Lady Deborah Holmes were avid art collectors. They acquired a small but impressive collection of works predominately by New Zealand artists, most of which were housed at Mana Lodge, their private residence in the Hawkes Bay. Gow Langsford Gallery is proud to present a selection of works from this beloved personal collection.
Holmes was an avid supporter of Gow Langsford Gallery and the former John Leech Gallery, acquiring an eclectic range of works over his lifetime from artists as renowned as Gottfried Lindauer and as diverse as Dick Frizzell. Holmes’ Lindauer, Untitled (Te Mahunga), a portrait of a Maori gentleman from 1909, is notable in its deviation from the artist’s archetypal depiction of Maori in customary dress. The sitter here instead wears a stately Victorian suit, providing valuable insight into a shifting period in which Maori began to utilize elements of European clothing for their own self-portrayal.
Sir Paul Holmes purchased his first Dick Frizzell landscape from one of the very first exhibitions at Gow Langsford Gallery in Grey Lynn and subsequently acquired several others, some of which are included in this exhibition. Holmes’ collection of Frizzell works primarily centres on iconic New Zealand landscapes, scenery familiar to many of us from trips through the countryside. Whether it is the stylized Track to the Beach or the golden setting of Peter Siddell’s House and Hills, it is clear Paul Holmes enjoyed an ongoing commitment to a painterly New Zealand tradition.
This collection also includes two bronze sculptures by Paul Dibble that featured prominently in the landscape at Mana Lodge. At 2.6m and 3.4m in height respectively, Icon and Voyager are monumental works from two very important series by Paul Dibble. Both pieces are dynamic in their execution, involving elements of balance and movement. The addition of these significant sculptures to the collection pays tribute to Holmes’ passion for emblematic New Zealand art.
The gallery thanks Lady Deborah Holmes for her assistance in selecting these works and making them available for public exhibition.