New Zealand Art & Culture

Visitors to Auckland between March 18 and July 16 have a special treat in store. The world renowned UK Tate Gallery has provided the exhibits for the Auckland Art Gallery’s 'The Body Laid Bare: Masterpieces from Tate'. It include over 100 masterpieces by renowned artists, including Turner, Rodin, Picasso, Matisse, Bourgeois and many others. Many of these have never seen outside of Europe.
Auckland Art Gallery Exhibition

Beautiful, sensual and at times provocative, more than 100 artworks from Tate, London, tell the story of the nude and trace artists’ captivation with the human form over the last two centuries. 

Journeying through time, from the classical, biblical and literary subjects of the 1800's to the body politics of contemporary art, The Body Laid Bare brings together masterpieces by renowned artists including JMW Turner, Auguste Rodin, Pierre Bonnard, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Louise Bourgeois, Cindy Sherman, Sarah Lucas and many more. 

At the heart of the show is Auguste Rodin’s marble sculpture The Kiss which – although celebrated worldwide – is travelling beyond Europe for the first time. Other renowned works include Picasso’s Nude woman in a red chair (1932) and Bonnard’s The Bath (1925).


Pablo Picasso's 'Nude Woman in a Red Armchair' (1932), one of the exhibits at the 'The Body Laid Bare'


This will be the Auckland Art Galleries major exhibition for 2017, so tickets will be at a premium. If you are interested in booking a package in advance, including this exhibition, we can help.

We feature the Auckland Art Gallery as an optional activity in all of our suggested New Zealand itineraries, including this one, the 11 Days North Island Self Drive. As we mention on these pages, the gallery re-opened in 2011 after a 3-year, $120 million total upgrade. 

Auckland Art Gallery Modernization

This 3-year project involved an extension to the main gallery site, the creation of new contemporary galleries, education centers, members facilities, outdoor sculpture terraces and openings out to the adjacent Albert Park.  

The historic gallery buildings were earthquake strengthened, expanded, restored and re-opened, most particularly the East Gallery, a 1916 day light gallery which for decades has been hidden from view through its temporary use as a storage space. 

The Wellesley Gallery has also been upgraded and renamed the Grey Gallery. Numerous spaces along the west face of the building have been re-aligned and restored, to create five inter-flowing spaces named the Robertson Galleries.

Julian and Josie Robertson

At the opening exhibition in 2011, the 15 promised gift works from American philanthropists Julian and Josie Robertson Collection were on display. These are works of art from New York art collectors and includes some of the major European artists of the modern era.

Dating from the late 19th to mid 20th centuries, its art historical and cultural value places the gift among the most generous philanthropic acts in New Zealand history.

The gift is drawn from a private collection that largely focuses on modernist works. While frequently called on to lend to art museums, this is the first time the Robertson's have gifted work. 

The Robertson's said, 'We have had a lifelong love affair with New Zealand. We love Auckland. And we love these pictures. That's why we were so pleased when we brought the works to New Zealand and New Zealanders seemed to enjoy them as much as we do. Frankly, bringing the pictures was probably the most appreciated thing we have ever done. We are delighted to be able to make this gift.'

Lindsay Barron

Lindsay Barron • Feb 13, 2017