One year ago I visited New Zealand. It was an amazing time: kind people, beautiful valleys, turquoise sea, tall waterfalls and foamy rivers, beautiful lakes, steam rising from the ground and bubbling springs of warm water, shadows of tree ferns and beautiful flowers in botanical gardens. Roses smelled really nice. I drew and painted them, and just enjoyed myself.
In Auckland I noticed a big poster inviting people to an exhibition of paintings. The next day I visited this exhibition and I was surprised that the painter was Gottfried Lindauer who was Czech by origin.
There was an amazing collection in an art gallery: Portraits of Māori chiefs in soft feather coats and carefully drawn tattoos and of proud Māori princesses with jade jewels. On the walls, there were large paintings with scenes from the life of old Māori villages.
Later I asked some people about him and „tested“ them: Do you know Gottfried Lindauer? „Yes“, they said. „He is a famous New Zealand artist from 19th – 20th century and was originally from Czech“, they told me. They shared more information about Gottfried Lindauer and I was ashamed that I didn´t know him before. Finally, now I know him. I visited his exhibition and found out more about him.
Gottfried Lindauer was born on 5th January 1839 in Pilsen and originally named Bohumir. His father was a gardener and Bohumir´s first artistic experience was drawing plants. He professionally trained at the Academy Fine Arts in Vienna. In 1874 he moved to New Zealand. He travelled a lot and loved local nature. He gradually gained the trust of Māori people and was able to create a great work that still describes their culture.
I believe he was able to capture the fine lines of tattoos and feathers on Māori chiefs‘ coats because he started his work with observing and then drawing and painting flowers and plants.
Bohumír Lindauer, selfportrait 1862, Západočeské muzeum v Plzni
Poster with picture of Gottfried Lindauer
Pohutukawa, New Zealand, photo Bronya Gill 2017
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