|ARTIST:||Charles Frederick Goldie|
|DATES:||New Zealand 1870 - 1947|
|MEDIUM:||Oil on canvas|
|SIZE:||20.5 x 15 cm|
Signed and dtaed 1913 lower right
Exhibited: Canterbury Society of Arts, 1914, no. 328
Literature: Roger Blackley, Goldie, 192.
Title inscribed verso on stretcher
Typically, Goldie's portraits contain an element of the ethnological in the inclusion of traditional Maori jewellery, carving, clothing and tattooing (ta moko). Furthermore, the majority of Goldie's sitters are middle aged or elderly and are depicted gazing nostalgically into the middle distance or down to the ground. As a result, the present painting is unique in Goldie's oeuvre as it features a young Maori girl who gazes directly out of the painting and engages with the viewer. The work is an excellent example of Goldie's unique ability to capture and portray the emotional character of the sitter, which bequeaths his works an admirable poignancy. Slightly turned from the viewer with down cast head and knitted brow, Goldie effectively illustrates the epitome of a sulky demeanour. The portrait of the young girl is devoid of the items of traditional Maori jewellery, carving and clothing that Goldie often includes in his work. Presented in simple dress and head-scarf, the portrait is one of the few unique pieces that Goldie produced that focuses specifically on the personal and emotional identity of the sitter.
Of the small number of paintings that Goldie completed of Maori children, there are two known portraits that feature the present sitter. The Aigantighe Gallery in Timaru holds a similar work of the same girl in their collection, titled Maori Girl, 1938. However, the present painting predates this work, suggesting that this is the original painting of the young girl that Goldie produced and that he later revisited it, producing a second portrait with a slightly altered composition that now hangs in the Aigantighe.
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