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Christchurch City Council Media Release 17 April 2002

Major Trans-Tasman Loan For Christchurch Art Gallery Opening

A loan of sixteen 19th Century masterpieces from the National Gallery of Victoria will mark the opening of the Christchurch Art Gallery, and confirm its position as one of Australasia’s major new cultural facilities.

“Without doubt, the Christchurch Art Gallery will become a key venue in trans-Tasman touring programmes,” says Christchurch Art Gallery Director, Tony Preston.

The announcement of the touring exhibition comes one year out from the scheduled inauguration of the new Gallery in late April 2003.

The sixteen works, from the National Gallery of Victoria’s permanent collection, include internationally important paintings by Cézanne, Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Signac, Sisley, Turner, Constable, Corot and Courbet.

Director of the National Gallery of Victoria, Dr Gerard Vaughan says the works have been drawn from the NGV’s extensive collection which is regarded as the best collection of international art in the southern hemisphere, and one of the finest in the world.

Dr Vaughan says many of the works in the loan had recently returned to Australia from the United States, having been part of the NGV’s European Masterpieces touring exhibition, which attracted more than 500,000 visitors.

“It means that visitors to the new Christchurch Art Gallery will not only be able to enjoy a new facility, but a sensational opening show,” says Dr Vaughan.

Mr Preston says the generous trans-Tasman loan is also public affirmation of the fellowship between major Australian and New Zealand cultural institutions.

The loan has particular significance for the Christchurch Art Gallery Director, who was employed as Chief Education Officer and Public Programmes Coordinator at the National Gallery of Victoria, in Melbourne, before taking up his post in Christchurch, and the senior architect for the new Gallery, David Cole of The Buchan Group, is also based in Melbourne.

Dr Vaughan says Victorians – like the people of Canterbury, New Zealand – were also awaiting a new Gallery, with the opening of the redeveloped National Gallery of Victoria.

“We are delighted to be working with the Christchurch Art Gallery as they prepare for their opening and would also invite our New Zealand friends to visit our new galleries; The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, due to open in August this year and NGV International, opening in August 2003.” says Dr Vaughan.

“We are indebted to our Melbourne colleagues for this generous loan which will be a spectacular inaugural exhibition. It is one of many we will bring to the new Gallery and we have been able to attract such exhibitions because of the calibre of the new facility – one of which all Cantabrians can be particularly proud,” says Tony Preston.

View images of the NGV’s European Masterpieces touring exhibition 78KB (The file is in PDF format. You will require the free acrobat reader to view.)

For more information: Gerard Blank Glass Tower Strategic Communications 64 3 365 1445 or 0274 303 050

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