05 April - 15 June 2014

McLeavey Sat Here

Last year, Te Papa Press published Jill Trevelyan’s biography of pioneer Wellington art dealer Peter McLeavey. McLeavey invented art dealing in New Zealand and helped make the names of canonical New Zealand modernists, including Colin McCahon, Toss Woollaston, Gordon Walters, and Milan Mrkusich. Since setting up shop in 1966, he has presented over 500 shows. 

A Catholic, McLeavey presented his enterprise as a quasi-religious one: an early gallery masthead featured an angel. Although he was a tastemaker, his church was broad; over the years a huge variety of artists passed through his space. Today, managed by his daughter Olivia, Peter McLeavey Gallery is a survivor—Wellington’s longest-running dealer gallery.

Our exhibition considers how artists have responded to and participated in the making of the McLeavey myth. It features works by Billy Apple, Peter Black, L. Budd, Gavin Chilcott, Julian Dashper, Michael Illingworth, Colin McCahon, and John Reynolds.