Remembering Van der Velden 

Thu 28 Nov 2013,  3.30pm–8pm
Level 4 Classroom and Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa, Level 5  
Free entry. Please register at

Petrus van der Velden, Storm at Wellington Heads, about 1908, oil on canvas. Gift of the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, 1936. Te Papa (1936-0012-115)

This special event celebrates the legacy of Dutch immigrant painter Petrus van der Velden, who died 100 years ago. Four seminars, a floortalk, and a panel discussion bring to light recent research on this influential artist, and consider his place in New Zealand art.

Van der Velden arrived in New Zealand in 1890, providing a much-needed example of what an artist and ‘professional’ art could be. He is credited with being one of the first artists to express an intensely personal response to New Zealand’s landscape. After his death in 1913, the Lyttelton Times described him as ‘the best type of Bohemian’.


3.30pm–5.30pm: Seminars
A series of presentations on Van der Velden, chaired by Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, Te Papa’s Head of Arts and Visual Cultures:
Dieuwertje Dekkers – At Work in the Netherlands
Peter Vangioni – Ōtira
Rebecca Rice – The Best Kind of Bohemian
Ann Shelton – The Memory Stream
Level 4 Classroom, free entry

6.15pm–6.45pm: Floortalk
From Marken to Muriwai: Walking with Van der Velden and McCahon
Jonathan Mane-Wheoki explores parallels between Van der Velden and McCahon, one of New Zealand’s most celebrated modern painters, in their treatment of funerary subjects in landscape settings.
Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa, Level 5, free entry

7pm–8pm: Panel discussion
The Legacy of Van der Velden
Art historian Julie King, curators Peter Vangioni and Aaron Lister, and artist Seraphine Pick reflect on Van der Velden’s legacy with chair Roger Blackley, Associate Professor in Art History at Victoria University. Te Papa’s Head of Arts & Visual Culture explores parallels between Van der Velden and McCahon, one of New Zealand’s most celebrated modern painters, in their treatment of funerary subjects in landscape settings.
Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa, Level 5, free entry

About the seminars and presenters
Dieuwertje Dekkers, art historian

Dieuwertje Dekkers’ seminar considers Van der Velden’s artistic processes from preliminary sketch to finished oil painting. She takes as her starting point a small, rapidly executed sketch in charcoal of three fisherwomen. She goes on to locate this work within developments brought about by The HagueSchool.

Dieuwertje Dekkers is regarded as the leading authority on the work of Jozef Israëls, the eminent painter of The HagueSchool, of which Van der Velden was part. She has curated and lectured in the Netherlands and New Zealand and published several books and articles.

Peter Vangioni, curator

Peter Vangioni’s explores the popularity of Ōtira Gorge as a destination for tourists and artists – especially Van der Velden – in the late 19th century. Van der Velden first visited the region in the summer of 1891, and the body of works that emerged from his experiences there came to define his career in New Zealand.

Peter Vangioni is a curator at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu. He has curated two exhibitions of Van der Velden’s work, including Van der Velden: Otira in 2011.

Rebecca Rice, curator

Rebecca Rice’s seminar considers the role that this ‘best type of Bohemian’ has played in New Zealand’s art history since he first art impressed critics here in the early 1890s. Both his work and his commitment to being an artist offered an example to local artists that was seen as worthy of emulation.

Rebecca Rice is Curator of Historical New Zealand Art at Te Papa. She previously lectured in Art History at VictoriaUniversity and managed the art collection there.

Ann Shelton, artist

In 2008, artist Ann Shelton visited the place where Van der Velden painted Study for Mountain Stream Otira Gorge, about 1912. She then ‘remade’ his work as a mirror image of paired photographs. In this presentation, she discusses that work and its context.  

Ann Shelton is Chair of Enjoy Public Art Gallery and Associate Professor of Photography at MasseyUniversity’s Whiti o Rehua – The School of Art. Her recent exhibitions include doublethink at Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, and The City of Gold and Lead at SarjeantArtGallery, Whanganui. – the online home of the arts at Te Papa

Dutch Days