Portraits


“Portraiture doesn’t sell in NZ”, one of the axioms of print retail that we would like to move beyond. Our reluctance to offer a portrait collection (we sort of had it covered in the “figurative collection”) was undermined by artists such as Viky Garden whose self-portraits are the main theme of her practice. But it was the screenprints of Michael Smither that tipped the balance for us, Smither’s portraits of his family are a wonderful body of work, as much as we enjoy his more academic exploration of music and print-making Smither’s portraits melted our hearts and are determined to promote these scenes of NZ domestic life to a wider audience of print buyers. We dipped our toe in on Pinterest with a board of portraits of famous New Zealanders - why, we wondered, do the people in other countries routinely decorate with pictures of famous leaders (Churchill, Abraham Lincoln etc) or inspirational figures from Joan of Arc onwards - but NZers have only ever showed a desire to own that famous grandfatherly portrait of Mickey Savage, something that would be seen as dramatically statement of political partisanship in the modern office. With a collection of imported reproductions of famous paintings that lean heavily toward the academic/art history end of of the spectrum our collection of portraits by other than NZ artists is without parallel in New Zealand, given the accepted wisdom that portraits don’t sell this devotion is either foolhardy or determined! But we think you should be able to buy a reasonably priced print of famous portraits like the “Mona Lisa” from NZ Fine Prints, living with the work of superb painters in full colour everyday is a luxury we need living so far away from many of the world’s great art collections.