Gottfried Lindauer

from: 20.11.2014 to: 12.04.2015
Alte Nationalgalerie

With the exhibition, Gottfried Lindauer, the Nationalgalerie is making a first presentation of the work of an artist whose sensational painting has never before been exhibited in Europe and who is unknown outside of New Zealand. After years of working in close consultation, we have succeeded in winning these portraits of Maori subjects for Berlin. The exhibition will usher in a further chapter of 19th century art history, and one which will bring into focus a complex web of relationships spanning the entire globe.

To date, questions of in- and exclusion have been posed in the context of contemporary art, with the aim of investigating our own cultural praxis. In this instance, such questions are highly relevant, as these portraits of tattooed Maori bear witness to a genuine, and rare, bicultural interaction and are proof of fruitful encounters between widely differing persons, societies and cultures.

Gottfried Lindauer, born in 1839 in Pilsen (today in the Czech Republic), is one of the few painters of the late 19th century to devote his work almost exclusively to depicting an indigenous people, the Maori of New Zealand, in portraits and genre studies. We have him to thank for a precise image of people from the ancestral culture of the Maori.

Gottfried Lindauer trained at the Vienna Kunstakademie. His teachers were Leopold Kuppelwieser, Josef von Führich and Carl Hemerlein. The growing popularity of photographs made commissions difficult to find in Pilsen, and added to that was the threat of conscription into military service in the Hungarian-Austrian war. So Lindauer quickly determined to take an emigrant ship from Hamburg. In August 1874, he arrived in Wellington harbour in New Zealand, shifted to the mercantile city of Auckland and there met his sponsor, the businessman, Henry Partridge, who wanted to preserve the moribund Maori culture. Lindauer died at a ripe old age in 1926 in Woodville.

An exhibition of the Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, in collaboration with Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and made possible by the Verein der Freunde der Nationalgalerie.

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