The Blind Woman of Taupo by Charles Frederick Goldie was loaned to the Taupo Museum.
A private philanthropist loaned the Taupo Museum an almost priceless painting for display over the next five years – but who is this kuya depicted in Charles Frederick Goldie’s The Blind Woman of Taupo?
The painting, created in the 1930s by the legendary artist, is now on display in the varenui (meeting house) of the Te Aroha o Rongoheikum museum and will stand next to portraits of Ngati Tuvaretoa chiefs Te Verahiko (Haukino) and Ruten Te Wamayrangi Rahui of Opepe. , painted in 1908 by renowned artist and Taupo personality Thomas Ryan.
A new exhibition called “Goldie and Ryan” opened this month, and museum staff are racing to find out who the woman in the painting was and hoping locals can identify her.
Speaking at the official opening, Steve Giles, events and venues manager for the Taupo District Council, said “there aren’t many better working days than this one.”
Charles Frederick Goldie’s last major work was “A Noble Relic of a Noble Race” which sold at auction for $1,377,600. This video was first published in April 2016.
* Charles F. Goldie paintings fetched $1.8 million at auction in Oakland, setting a new record
* The legacy of seven generations of English portrait painter in Aotearoa
* Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is selling her collection of Goldie’s paintings.
“We as a team are privileged to be part of the guardianship or kaitiakitanga of the cherished Goldie taonga,” he said.
Goldie’s work focused on elderly moko (tattooed) rangatirs (chiefs), preserving the so-called “noble heirlooms of the noble race”.
In 1901, Goldie visited Rotorua, where his friend and fellow artist Thomas Ryan operated a ferry service.
Ryan’s wife, Mary Warepapa, helped Goldie with his subjects and convinced several models Te Arawa and Ngati Tuvaretoa to pose for him.
However, it is not known who this woman was and whether she was from Rotorua or Taupo.
Relatives were not aware of the existence of Ryan Touwaretoa’s main paintings until the portraits were shown on the TV show Te Karere when they were to be auctioned off at the International Arts Center in Auckland in the early 1990s.
Eraita Ann Clark and Hinetemoa Walker of Taupo, Rutene Rahui’s granddaughter, recognized his distinctive spiral moko and contacted the auction house, who agreed to wait until they found the money to buy them.
The Opepe Farm Foundation stepped in and bought the portraits, and in 1995 the paintings were returned to the district by the Opepe trustees and descendants of Te Verahiko and Rutene.
They were then entrusted to the museum so that it could properly care for the works of art.
Giles said credit should go to all those involved in getting Goldie and Ryan’s artwork into the museum.
“We owe a lot to donors. Thank you for sharing your gift with us and the community.”
For conservation reasons, only one of Ryan’s paintings will be on display at a time, and they will be rotated every six months.
The Goldie and Ryan exhibit is now open to the public from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM every day, admission is free for locals.