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Strong Dutch influence in Mahara Gallery Festival offering
March 2016
The Burden of Dreams by Paul van den Bergh, on show at the Mahara Gallery.

Mahara Gallery's contribution to the 2016 NZ Festival has a strong Dutch connection which includes two significant Dutch New Zealand artists now living in Waikanae as well as an important Dutch artist who settled in New Zealand in the 1890s, Petrus van der Velden, and two watercolour paintings, Dutch Woman Reading and Hill Town (Dutch Canal with church) by Frances Hodgkins.

The Festival offering includes three separate exhibitions. The main gallery is exhibiting the work of husband and wife artists Margriet Windhausen and Paul van den Bergh.

The Frances Hodgkins and Petrus van der Velden paintings are part of the Gallery's commitment to exhibit work from the nationally-significant Field Collection, extended here with two Hodgkins and van der Velden works loaned by Avenal McKinnon. It offers a small taster of the quality of works from this larger collection.

The third offering is an exhibition by American-born photographer Andrea Gardner, Once There Was A Tree.

Margriet Windhausen and Paul Van Den Bergh both trained as artists in Holland before emigrating to New Zealand in 1976. They have lived in Gisborne, Invercargill, Hamilton and Timaru before settling in Waikanae.

Their work has featured in exhibitions throughout the country from the National Gallery in Wellington, Gisborne Museum and Art Gallery and Waikato Art Museum as well as being included in many public and private collections in New Zealand and the Netherlands.

Margriet Windhausen is best known for her public sculptures including one of the famous New Zealand athlete, Jack Lovelock in Timaru, The Abel Tasman Memorial in Wellington and the Kate Sheppard Memorial in Christchurch.

The exhibition title, The Burden of Dreams, derives from a Paul Van Den Bergh pencil drawing of the same title.

Mahara Gallery Director Janet Bayly says of the exhibition: "their work reflects modernist and surrealist art influences built on their traditional art training in Holland. They each have a unique voice in which the human figure becomes a vehicle for dreaming".

The Frances Hodgkins' watercolour, Dutch Woman Reading, is on loan to Mahara Gallery. It was painted in 1906, comparatively early in the artist's career. Avenal McKinnon believes it was probably painted in the Bowen Street studio which Hodgkins shared with Dorothy Kate Richmond. The subject reflected her recent year in Holland, and also her awareness of van der Velden's studies of Dutch peasant women.

"We are grateful for the loan of this wonderful painting to supplement the works we have drawn from the Field Collection for this exhibition," said Janet Bayly.

The Gallery is also grateful to the Deane Endowment Trust for its support in staging the exhibitions which are being officially opened by Gillian, Lady Deane, on Thursday 25 February and run until Sunday 3 April.

Our NZ Festival 2016 events include:

Artist's floortalk with Margriet Windhausen in The Burden of Dreams, Wednesday 2 March at 11am, entry free

Artist's floortalk with Andrea Gardner in Once There Was A Tree, Wednesday 9 March at 11am, entry free

Curator's floortalk with Janet Bayly in Frances Hodgkins and Petrus van der Velden in the Field Collection, Wednesday 16 March at 11am, entry free

Writers Week; NZ Festival: Muriel Barbery in conversation - Philosophy & Fiction (France), Friday 11 March at 4pm. Tickets GA $19, Book through Ticketek

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