John Kinder’s New Zealand brings together for the first time a selection of watercolours and photographs by a remarkable 19th century artist. The exhibition, curated by Ron Brownson, Senior Curator of Auckland Art Gallery, presents a unique insight into the changing scene of colonial New Zealand.
John Kinder (1819–1903) was born in London and developed an early interest in, and talent for, watercolour painting. He became a clergyman in the Anglican Church and in 1855 migrated to New Zealand to become headmaster of Auckland’s Church of England Grammar School. He developed his interest and skills in photography during the 1860s.
During the 50 years he lived here, Kinder travelled extensively in the North and South Islands, painting and photographing what he saw at a time of rapid change in the new colony. He was a prolific artist, producing nearly one thousand paintings, drawings, and photographs during his lifetime.
His diverse subject matter included landscapes, the colonial church, the development of industries such as goldmining, local flora, the architecture of town and country, Māori life and culture, portraiture, and military scenes.
He sought to capture what was specific and local in his subject, producing one of this country’s earliest and finest visual records. Yet he exhibited only twice in his lifetime, choosing for the most part to keep his artistic life out of the public eye.
John Kinder’s New Zealand is an extraordinary window on to a fascinating time in the history of colonial New Zealand.
An Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki touring exhibition.
This exhibition is generously supported by the Fletcher Trust.
'Passionate Pastime' lecture by Roger Blackley
Sunday 15 August 2004
Two speakers in the panel discussion that inaugurated the John Kinder exhibition at Te Papa vehemently rejected the term 'amateur' in relation to Kinder and his art. Roger Blackley, Senior Lecturer in Art History, Victoria University of Wellington, disagrees, arguing that an understanding of Kinder's amateur status allows crucial insights into Kinder's work and its legacy.