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Early New Zealand Art

It is generally accepted that the history of ‘fine art’ began in New Zealand with the arrival of the artists on Cook’s first voyage in 1769. Most of the art produced during the first century of European history in this country is now housed in public or major private collections. The only images still generally available from this period are engravings of maps and portrayals of the ‘native inhabitants’. There are occasionally works offered by some of the early gentleman, soldier or surveyor artists painted prior to 1865, but most of the early New Zealand work on the market dates from 1865 to the early 1900s.  It wasn’t until the first professional artists took up residence in the new colony that any real quantity of work was produced.

It was during the Colonial period of New Zealand’s art history that the foundation was laid for the country’s rich artistic heritage. The first art societies were formed and art schools were established. A number of European artists were attracted to the colony to paint the unique scenery as well as to teach. 

Fine Art Society holds an extensive and ever changing stock of early New Zealand art. Please contact us to assist you in finding early works of interest to you. 

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