The Gallery of Helen Hitchings
Arthur Rex Dugard Fairburn, Curtain, circa 1950. Purchased 2015. Te Papa (GH017983).
In her gallery, Helen Hitchings wanted ‘to stimulate an awareness in a simple, practical way of the principles of good domestic design’. She spent a year searching for the country’s best modern works, such as the textiles, furniture, and art to your left.
She enlisted poet A R D Fairburn to supply hand block-printed fabrics. Inspired by Theo Schoon’s photographs of Maori rock drawings, Fairburn introduced a bright palette into the designs. Viennese-trained architect Ernst Plischke’s light, portable furniture encouraged flexible living. His harmonising of furnishings and architecture mirrored Hitchings’ integration of design and art.