auckland

Gottfried Lindauer, Tamati Waka Nene, 1890, oil on canvas, 40 1/8 × 33 1/8".

Gottfried Lindauer

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

Gottfried Lindauer, Tamati Waka Nene, 1890, oil on canvas, 40 1/8 × 33 1/8".

Between the 1870s and early 1900s, the Czech émigré Gottfried Lindauer crisscrossed New Zealand, hawking his skills as a portraitist. His paintings were competent, if unspectacular: realist likenesses very often made by working from (and sometimes over) photographs. His portraits of the Māori, particularly those wearing moko (traditional tattoos), are, however, major documents of New Zealand’s colonial history. Many of them traveled to Berlin’s Alte Nationalgalerie and the Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Czech Republic, (Lindauer’s birthplace) in 2014–15, after the Nationalgalerie’s director, Udo Kittelmann, saw them in New Zealand. In Europe, Lindauer was understandably a curiosity: one of their own, who’d left his homeland and found himself painting a culture that, even now, is perceived by many Europeans as “exotic.” In New Zealand, though, where the paintings are extraordinarily

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