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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Auckland City Art Gallery

Opened in 1887, the Auckland City Art Gallery was the first in New Zealand. The original Grey Collection presented in 1861 to the citizens of Auckland by Sir George Grey was supplemented in 1885 by the bequest of the collection of James Tannock Mackelvie who also left a sum of money in trust to the city.

Accommodation in the combined art gallery and public library building became inadequate for the growing collections and in 1911 the space occupied by the municipal offices was added to the gallery and in 1916 a large new gallery was added.

The Auckland City Art Gallery is administered and financed by the Auckland City Council. The gallery was under the care of the City Librarian, John Barr, from 1913 till 1952, when Eric Westbrook was appointed director of the gallery. He was succeeded in 1956 by Peter Tomory. Under these two directors the gallery has been modernised and completely refurbished. Activities include a comprehensive exhibitions programme, lectures, classes, and films. An organisation of friends, the Art Gallery Associates, was formed in 1956. Peter Tomory resigned from the directorship in 1964.

The collection includes European Old Masters, twentieth century paintings, sculpture, drawings, and prints by European artists, and New Zealand art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. There is a fine Frances Hodgkins collection and the Mackelvie Collection of Japanese prints. The Mackelvie and Edmiston are two important bequests.