From the 1870s to the early twentieth century, the Bohemian immigrant artist Gottfried Lindauer travelled to marae and rural towns around New Zealand and – commissioned by Māori and Pākehā – captured in paint the images of key Māori figures. For Māori then and now, the faces of tūpuna are full of mana and life. Now this definitive book on Lindauer’s portraits of the ancestors collects that work for New Zealanders.
The book presents 67 major portraits and 8 genre paintings alongside detailed accounts of the subject and work, followed by essays by leading scholars that take us inside Lindauer and his world: from his artistic training in Bohemia to his travels around New Zealand as Māori and Pākehā commissioned him to paint portraits; his artistic techniques and deep relationship with photography; Henry Partridge’s gallery of Lindauer works on Queen Street in Auckland where Māori visited to see their ancestors; and the afterlife of the paintings in marae and memory.
For Māori, the faces that look out from Lindauer’s portraits are tribal leaders and family members. They are tohunga and politicians. They are ancestors and friends. Gottfried Lindauer met Maori tūpuna at the most basic level of human connection by capturing their likeness. This book returns the ancestors and the artist to the people.