EIT Adopts an Art Treasure

November 25, 2009

EIT Hawke’s Bay is the proud adoptive parent of a Goldie painting.

The Whitening Snows of Venerable Elder Kapikapi, painted by Charles Frederick Goldie, is one of 22 works of art recently put up for ‘adoption’ by the Hawke’s Bay Museum and Art Gallery to raise funds for their care.

Friends of the Hawke’s Bay Cultural Trust, Ruawharo Ta-u-Rangi, initiated the Adopt a painting project two years ago to heighten awareness of the plight of some of the gallery’s art treasures which may have suffered from the ravages of time.

The gallery’s current Rescue Me exhibition highlights success stories by showcasing past ‘adoptions’ – rescues which have funded the cleaning, repair and stabilisation of works that required conservation treatment. Alongside these, a new group of artworks is exhibited, each one of them in need of similar support.

Marketing Team Leader for the Hawke’s Bay Museum and Art Gallery Pam Joyce says funds are allocated annually for conservation projects, but the cost of the specialised work requires extra support.

EIT has sponsored $1500 for conservation work on the Goldie painting, possibly originally titled The Whitening Snows of Venerable Elder Kapikapi, a Chieftainess of Tuhourangi Tribe. It is also paying the $600 cost of restoring the frame.

The Troutbeck Trust gifted the painting to the Hawke’s Bay Cultural Trust in 1952.

Auckland-born, Goldie (1870-1974) is celebrated for his portraits of Māori chiefs and highly ranked Māori women. He faithfully recorded his subjects’ traditional tattoos at a time when the Māori art of tattooing appeared to be dying out.

Conservation treatment, to be carried out by the Auckland Art Gallery, will attempt to reverse some inferior retouching done on the oil painting in the past. The work will also be cleaned and treated to prevent further cracking of the paint.

When the Rescue Me exhibition closes on 31 January, the painting will be sent to Auckland where it could remain for some 12 to 18 months.

“You will get to see it when it comes back,” Joyce has assured EIT. “It’s fantastic that EIT could support it.”