‘Gem of an exhibition’ celebrates 150th anniversary of Frances Hodgkins birth




Photo: Avenal McKinnon (left) and Pamela Gerrish Nunn prepare to cut the Frances Hodgkins’ 150th anniversary birthday cake.


A “gem of an exhibition” was how former NZ Portrait Gallery Director and Frances Hodgkins’ specialist Avenal McKinnon described Mahara Gallery’s tribute exhibition to New Zealand’s most celebrated expatriate artist when she opened it on Sunday 28 April.

Around 90 people packed into the Gallery for the exhibition opening and to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Frances Hodgkins birth.
Frances Hodgkins, from Dunedin to Waikanae, curated by Pamela Gerrish Nunn, is an exhibition of some 20 works, sourced from private and institutional collectors around New Zealand.

Avenal McKinnon said Mahara Gallery and Pamela Gerrish Nunn are to be congratulated for bringing together an exhibition which is “full of surprises”.

She liked the way the exhibition contained works that spanned Frances Hodgkins’ creative life from the early landscapes in Dunedin to more abstract works such as the Wheelwright’s Shop, completed in 1942, just five years before her death.

Avenal McKinnon said that Frances Hodgkins was unusual as an artist because her work continued to change and evolve throughout her career.

As part of the celebration, Avenal McKinnon and Pamela Gerrish Nunn cut a 150th anniversary birthday cake.

The opening was followed by a panel discussion chaired by former Dunedin Public Art Gallery Director Priscilla Pitts and comprising, Avenal McKinnon, Pamela Gerrish Nunn and independent curator Tony Mackle.

The Gallery is grateful to collectors who have agreed to contribute works to the exhibition and also to the Deane Endowment Trust for its support in making the exhibition possible.