The Cornish Knot and the NZ art scene
I don’t pretend to be an art expert in any way, I just know the styles I like and can name artists that interest me, appeal to my senses, or have made an impact in some other way. I love Monet, Renoir, Constable, but I also love the work of C. F. Goldie as an artist. I know he has had his critics, and I know the world he inhabited was vastly different to today, but his paintings are haunting.
Imagine then, my surprise, as I dug deeper into the NZ art scene of the late 19th century and early 20th century, to discover that Girolami Nerli, the Florentine I wrote about in an earlier post, and Louis John Steele, who was a very colourful artist, tutor, and member of the Auckland Arts Society where acquainted. They also worked together and exhibited their art side by side. They shared a studio at times. Steele’s wife was the daughter of another Florentine artist, Guilio Piatti. That is not where my interest, nor my surprise, ended. Steele tutored and painted with C.F. Goldie.
So here was I writing a story about how a painting in Cornwall could have links to New Zealand, and discovered more people, more connections, and more art work than I could possibly have included in a novel. The difficult decision was what to leave out.
I’ve included below Steele’s “The blowing up of the Boyd” (1889), the famous “The Arrival of the Maoris” (1899) painting hanging in the Auckland Art Gallery by Louis John Steele and Charles F. Goldie, and one of Goldie’s painting, “A Centenarian: Aperahama aged 104″ (1908).