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0189 Alexandra Karentzos and Miriam Oesterreich, Editorial

RIHA Journal 0189 | 20 July 2018

Editorial

Alexandra Karentzos and Miriam Oesterreich

Abstract

This special issue compiles papers presented at the 2015 “Gottfried Lindauer – Painting New Zealand” conference organized by the Technische Universität Darmstadt and the Nationalgalerie Berlin. Both the issue and the conference itself constitute an extension of the acclaimed exhibition “Gottfried Lindauer – The Māori Portraits”, shown between 20 November 2014 and 12 April 2015 in the Alte Nationalgalerie Berlin, and present an array of scholarly and theoretical perspectives. The essays reflect in microcosm current larger research and archival work and are thus able to place the work of the artist, hitherto discussed mostly in an ethnographic context, into an already globalized framework shaped by transcultural contacts.



[1] On 14 January 1890 the New Zealand newspaper Wanganui Herald saw fit to notify its readers that “a German author has just produced a magnificent, illustrated work on the ‘Art of Tattooing’. The plates are produced in colors, and include all the portraits of tattooed warriors (as painted by Mr G. Lindauer) exhibited by Sir Walter Buller at the ‘Colindies’ in 1886”.1 The “German author” mentioned here is ethnographer, explorer and collector Wilhelm Joest. His collection forms the basis of the exhibition on display in the Rautenstrauch-Joest ethnographic museum in Cologne (fig. 1).

1 O. Preissler, “Portraits, Gypsmaske und ornamentirte Geräthe von Eingeborenen von Neuseeland” [Portraits, Plaster Mask and Ornamented Tools of the Indigenous People of New Zealand], in: Wilhelm Joest, Tätowiren, Narbenzeichen und Körperbemalen: ein Beitrag zur vergleichenden Ethnologie, Berlin 1887, pl. V

In the introduction to his book entitled Tätowiren, Narbenzeichen und Körperbemalen: ein Beitrag zur vergleichenden Ethnologie (Tattooing, Scarification and Body Painting: a Contribution to Comparative Ethnology), published in 1887, Joest writes the following:

During my visit to the ‘Indian and Colonial Exhibition’ in London last year I saw in the New Zealand section a number of portraits of tattooed Māori. Upon my return to Berlin I urged Mr Preissler [...] to go to London and to make [...] copies of several oil paintings, photographs, ethnographic objects, and suchlike.2

By mentioning the “portraits of tattooed Māori”, he refers to the portraits painted by Gottfried Lindauer which impressed him so greatly that he sent draftsman O. Preissler from Dresden on a special mission to London (figs. 2, 3).

2 O. Preissler, “Mann und Frau von Neuseeland” [A Man and a Woman from New Zealand], after G. Lindauer, Hiriti Paerata, Chief of New Zealand and Puketapu, Wife of a Chief, in: Joest, Tätowiren, Narbenzeichen und Körperbemalen, pl. IV

3 Gottfried Lindauer, Hitiri Te Paerata, 1883, oil on canvas, 82,5 x 109 cm. Whanganui Regional Museum Collection (reprod. from: Roger Blackley, “Gottfried Lindauer – Eine neuseeländische Laufbahn”, in: Gottfried Lindauer – Die Māori-Portraits, eds. Udo Kittelmann and Britta Schmitz, Cologne 2014, 40-49, here 44)

[2] Joest also experimented with photographic images, although the colour blue that was traditionally used in the tattoos was barely visible at all on the negatives3, as can be seen on the photographs that Lindauer too used in place of preparatory drawings for his portraits (Figs. 4, 5).

4 Josiah Martin, King Tawhiao, n.d., albumen photographic print, 29,4 x 24,0 cm. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, accession number 1973/17/74 (reprod. from Ngahiraka Mason, “Gottfried Lindauer: Painting and Photography”, in: Gottfried Lindauer 1839-1926. Pilsen Painter of the New Zealand Māori, eds. Aleš Filip and Roman Musil, exh. cat. Gallery of West Bohemia, Pilsen, Revnice 2015, 80-93, here 85)

5 Gottfried Lindauer, Tawhiao Matutaera Potatau Te Wherowhero, 1882, oil on canvas, 88 x 70 cm. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of H E Partridge, 1915 (reprod. from: Matiu Baker, “Gottfried Lindauer in Berlin – 49 Māori-Portraits und ihre Geschichten”, in: Gottfried LindauerDie Māori-Portraits, eds. Udo Kittelmann and Britta Schmitz, Cologne 2014, 66-165, here 93)

Essentially, Lindauer's images offered exactly that which the black-and-white photography of his day could not deliver.

[3] In Joest's book, then, Lindauer's portraits were received in an ethnographic context, as documentary pictures of the Māori. Lindauer's portraits were also exhibited as part of the Colonial and Indian Exhibition in London in 1886 in the context of Māori artworks and everyday objects; the paintings were made to function as documentary, authentic representations of Māori culture and were thus read as ethnographic documents. Henry Partridge, a businessman and collector who lived in New Zealand, commissioned Lindauer’s paintings that were exhibited in London as a document of a ‘vanishing race’.4 Joest's approach, however, is extraordinary for his time, because he set himself the task of rescuing the “folk art” of tattooing from the fate of defamation – in opposition to those who at that time associated tattooing with the exotic, the criminal, or the underclass.5

[4] It was the traditional facial tattoos of the Māori, tā moko, in particular that were used by Alois Riegl and by Gottfried Semper to bolster their respective analyses regarding ornament from a history of style perspective (fig. 6).6

6 Maori Ornaments, in: Alois Riegel, Stilfragen. Grundlagen zu einer Geschichte der Ornamentik, Berlin 1893 (reprod. from: Lada Hubatová-Vacková, “From Owen Jones to Adolf Loos: European Theory of the Ornament and Maori Tattoos”, in: Gottfried Lindauer 1839-1926. Pilsen Painter of the New Zealand Māori, eds. Aleš Filip and Roman Musil, exh. cat., Revnice 2015, 94-109, here 102)

These art historians argued, by reference to moko, that ornament is an anthropological constant and, as such, is an integral part of aesthetic development: moko here was taken to be evidence of an early, as yet unelaborated form of civilizational aesthetic development which had ‘survived’ until the present day in New Zealand. Thus, tattoos – a phenomenon familiar to ethnographic researchers – were deployed around the turn of the twentieth century as part of a discourse about aesthetics. In the course of this, moko were detached conceptually from their original context – the individually coded face – and made universally available as mere form and pattern in order to generate a consistent theoretical narrative.

[5] This same discourse was also taken up in criminology through the publication of Cesare Lombroso's 1876 treatise L'uomo delinquente. In rapporto all’antropologia, alla giurisprudenza ed alle discipline carcerarie.7 Lombroso links the condition of being tattooed – utterly regardless of the diverse functions and aesthetic purposes of tattoos – to a discourse around crime, naturalizes this ostensible link and reinforces it in biologistic terms when he writes: “Tattooing is one of the most striking phenomena in man in his raw, in his original condition, in the so-called barbarian, above all with regard to the willingness with which he subjects himself to this painful operation.”8 In the history of the so-called Occident, tattoos were seen as a form of atavism: they always marked the boundary between civilization and barbarism, which were thus conceived as mutually constitutive polarities.9 As a matter of fact, Joest himself wore tattoos.10

[6] This spotlight on Joest and the discourse on tattooing serves as an example to show that, in Europe, Lindauer was viewed first and foremost in relation to ethnographic criteria and not in the context of artistic portrait painting. However, Lindauer’s Māori portraits suggest an alternative reading: the moko he depicts are not detached from the person wearing them; on the contrary, the moko are an important component of individualization in his portraits. As Ngarino Ellis points out, in the 1810s rangatina ‘chiefs’ regarded moko “as symbolic of their selves, as their signature, quite literally” (fig. 7).11

7 Drawing by Tuai (Ngāre Raumati) of his brother Korokoro, done in England, 1818. Auckland Libraries, Sir George Grey Special Collections, GNZMMS 147 (reprod. from: Ngārino Ellis, “Ki Tō Ringa Ki Ngā Rākau a Te Pākeha?: Drawings and Signatures of Moko by Māori in the Early 19th Century”, in: Journal of the Polynesian Society 123 (2014), no. 1, 29-66, here 44)

Lindauer sometimes depicts moko using sharp contours (even when compared with photographic templates), but he does not isolate them; rather, he respects their individuality. Thus, moko here are just as much a part of the person's face as their eyes or mouth: they make it possible to surmise the personality and the status of the person depicted – which are, after all, key functions of portraiture.

[7] Gottfried Lindauer himself was a trained portrait artist. He was born in 1839 in Pilsen (Bohemia, now in the Czech Republic) and studied at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts under Joseph Führich and Leopold Kupelwieser, both at the time prominent painters of religious subjects, as well as under Carl Johann Nepomuk Hemerlein. Through their mediation, Lindauer worked initially on decorations for churches in particular, travelling also to Poland and Russia for this purpose. His first contact with the indigenous culture of New Zealand came when he attended the 1873 World Exhibition in Vienna; this must have made a great impression on him, although there is no written evidence for it. It is assumed that he had led a rather precarious existence in Vienna and was not able to depend on his professional achievements to secure his livelihood – possibly due in part to the competition increasingly posed to portrait painting by photography. In 1874, with little knowledge of English, Lindauer emigrated from Hamburg to New Zealand, where he moved home frequently before finally settling in Woodville on the North Island in 1889 and opening a studio for photography and portrait painting. Teaming up with Henry Partridge, whom he met here and who was to become his lifelong patron, he came up with the idea of producing a series of oil portraits of famous Māori figures and likewise creating a painted record of indigenous customs and costumes for future generations.12 Also encapsulated in this endeavour was the assumption – typical of nineteenth-century Europe – that indigenous peoples were doomed to decline and that only the cultural aspects of their existence could be ‘saved’ in ethnographic collections, in painting and photography. Even if Lindauer was a man of his time in this sense, his contact to the models for his portraits (who, in many cases, were simultaneously the ones who had commissioned them) was characterized nonetheless by a rare sense of collaboration and mutual respect – expressed also in the self-confident poses adopted by the models themselves. It is true that the painter kept a stock of traditional Māori clothing which he frequently had his models wear during sittings,13 but it seems that this occurred at the request of the latter, whose own concern was for the portrait to preserve and re-enact traditions. For example, there are two versions of the portrait of dignitary Wiremu Tako Ngatata, one showing him in traditional Māori dress and one depicting him dressed in a European suit (Figs. 8, 9).

8 Gottfried Lindauer, Hon. Wiremu Tako Ngatata Te Teoteo, 1880, oil on canvas, 51 x 43,3 cm. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of H E Partridge, 1915 (reprod. from: Matiu Baker, “Gottfried Lindauer in Berlin – 49 Māori-Portraits und ihre Geschichten”, in: Gottfried LindauerDie Māori-Portraits, eds. Udo Kittelmann and Britta Schmitz, Cologne 2014, 66-165, here 87)

9 Gottfried Lindauer, Hon. Wi Tako Ngatata, M. L. C., Chief of the Ngatiawa Tribe in Taranaki N. Z., 1880, oil on canvas, 66 x 53,3 cm. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, gift of Alexander Turnbull, 1916, accession number 1992-0035-1226 (reprod. from: Matiu Baker, “Gottfried Lindauer in Berlin – 49 Māori-Portraits und ihre Geschichten”, 85)

[8] New Zealand textiles and objects of this kind were also a part of the global trade in colonial goods. They were exported en masse and displayed around the world at colonial and world exhibitions alongside works of fine art. The global dimension of Lindauer's work comes into focus, however, when we place it in the context of his painterly contemporaries. Lindauer presented ten of his paintings at the 1904 World Fair in St. Louis and he won the gold medal and Grand Prize of the Palace of Nations for his painting Portrait of Heeni Hirini and Child (Ana Rupene and Child) (fig. 10), a significant award for works of fine art. He received it for a painting that had a distinctively ‘ethnographic’ theme, while at the selfsame exhibition his contemporary Adolph Menzel emphasized the themes of industrialization and technological progress in his painting Eisenwalzwerk (Iron Rolling Mill, 1872-1875) (fig. 11).14 In this context, both artists can be seen as representing the two extremes of reception between ‘tradition’ and ‘modernity’.

10 Gottfried Lindauer, Heeni Hirini and Child (previously known as Ana Rupene and Child), 1878, oil on canvas, 68 x 56 cm. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of H E Partridge, 1915 (reprod. from: Matiu Baker, “Gottfried Lindauer in Berlin – 49 Māori-Portraits und ihre Geschichten”, 149)

11 Adolph Friedrich Erdmann von Menzel, Eisenwalzwerk (Iron Rolling Mill), 1872-1875, oil on canvas, 158 x 254 cm. Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (photo: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Adolph_Menzel_-_Eisenwalzwerk_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg)

[9] One concern of this present issue is to revise our assumptions about how Lindauer's portraits are to be understood in their context. These pictures are not at all about straightforward ethnographic documentation. The art historical and cultural contexts of Lindauer's art, as well as its numerous global references, will be given detailed consideration here. The title of the issue, Painting New Zealand, is intended as a reference to the process of reconstruction and is an allusion to the ambiguous character of painting: what it seeks to represent is something that it first creates.

While numerous European painters such as William Hodges, who accompanied James Cook on his second voyage to the Pacific (1772–1774) as his official artist, or later Frank Wright, John Gibb, or Eugene von Guérard, by whom two large-size landscape paintings were exhibited at London’s Colonial and Indian Exhibition in 188615, depicted the colonies and, in particular, New Zealand as a ‘natural space’, Lindauer's paintings create an image of New Zealand defined in a representative format above all by portraits of Māori (fig. 12). It is not just pictures of Māori that are generated here; Māori people themselves become “active agents in the shaping of their own identities”.16 Especially in the portraits in which the models are facing front, looking ‘out of’ the painting, they are reflecting the viewer's gaze back to itself (fig. 13).

12 Eugene von Guérard, Lake Wakatipu with Mount Earnslaw, Middle Island, New Zealand, 1877-1879, oil on canvas, 99,1 x 176,5 cm. Auckland City Art Gallery (reprod. from: Roger Blackley, Two Centuries of New Zealand Landscape Art, exh. cat., Auckland 1990, 43)

13 Gottfried Lindauer, Te Paea Hinerangi (Guide Sophia), 1896, oil on canvas, 68,5 x 57,5 cm. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of H E Partridge, 1915 (reprod. from: Matiu Baker, “Gottfried Lindauer in Berlin – 49 Māori-Portraits und ihre Geschichten”, 133)

[10] In her panoramic multi-channel video installation in Pursuit of Venus (infected), created for her solo exhibition “Emissaries” in the New Zealand pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017, contemporary artist Lisa Reihana encapsulated this contested field of painted landscape imaginings and agents in a nutshell, namely, by taking the classicist panoramic wallpaper Les sauvages de la mer Pacifique, designed by Jean-Gabriel Charvet and manufactured by Joseph Dufour et Cie in 1804-1805, as the point of departure for her own work, using it as the background to her film, and setting the individuals shown in the landscape in motion (figs. 14, 15).

14 Lisa Reihana, installation view of in Pursuit of Venus [infected], 2015-2017, exhibition “Emissaries”, New Zealand Pavilion, 57th Venice Biennale 2017 (Photo: A. Karentzos, 2017)

15 Les sauvages de la mer Pacifique (The Voyages of Captain Cook), 1805, wallpaper, printed in colour from 20 woodblocks, and hand-painted (gouache through stencils), 1,70 x 10,60 m, designed by Jean-Gabriel Charvet, manufactured by Joseph Dufour et Cie, Mâcon. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (© te papa: https://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/object/1495632)

[11] This effect is generated by inserting groups of people who seem real into the painted background landscape that moves continuously from left to right on the screen and thus ‘re-animating’ the colonial encounters between James Cook and indigenous people on his three South Sea journeys. The switch between moving and still scenes exponentially increases the rupture with the figures in the romanticized arcadian-exotic landscape who seem to be merely painted but are thus transformed into agents and thus reflect the colonial gaze back upon itself: “The Pacific people in iPOVi [in Pursuit of Venus (infected)] are also no longer passive, they gaze back at viewers and are active participants in a plethora of encounters that relate to a multiplicity of indigenous experiences within the colonial narrative [...].”17 Reihana thus interrupts the established colonial power game embedded in the panoramic landscape: the travelling explorers themselves become strangers in societies that already exist and yet into which they are incorporated. In this way, simultaneously, transcultural “contact zones” emerge, “that is, social spaces where disparate cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in highly asymmetrical relations of domination and subordination”.18

[12] A space of this kind is opened up when, in one scene in Reihana's video installation, a light-skinned man dressed only in a loincloth is painted black by a dark-skinned woman in traditional indigenous clothing using her hands, thereby questioning the commonplace attributions suggested by colonial and gendered power relations (fig. 16). In contrast to this, there is also a painter-model scene in which the painter can be seen, coded European with his easel, canvas and paintbrush as the painter's insignia, directing his female model and finally revealing her shoulders in order to fulfill the stereotypical image of the erotic indigenous woman – colonial regimes of looking are rendered easily comprehensible here (fig. 17).19 It is in this broad field of “contact zones” that Lindauer's portraits must also be located. His art can be described in terms of a transcultural approach, as a means of accounting for the multiplicity of transferences it contains.

16 Lisa Reihana, in Pursuit of Venus [infected] (detail), 2015-2017, multi-channel HD digital video, colour, sound, 64 min. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Patrons of the Auckland Art Gallery, 2014 (Photo: A. Karentzos, 2017; installation view, New Zealand Pavilion, 57th Venice Biennale 2017)

17 Lisa Reihana, in Pursuit of Venus [infected] (detail), 2015-2017, multi-channel HD digital video, colour, sound, 64 min. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Patrons of the Auckland Art Gallery, 2014 (Photo: A. Karentzos, 2017; installation view, New Zealand Pavilion, 57th Venice Biennale 2017)

[13] The present RIHA Journal special issue compiles papers presented at the 2015 “Gottfried Lindauer – Painting New Zealand” conference organized by the Technische Universität Darmstadt and the Nationalgalerie (National Gallery) Berlin. Both the issue and the conference itself constitute an extension of the acclaimed exhibition “Gottfried Lindauer – The Māori Portraits”, shown between 20 November 2014 and 12 April 2015 in the Alte Nationalgalerie Berlin, and present an array of scholarly and theoretical perspectives.

The essays reflect in microcosm current larger research and archival work and are thus able to place the work of the artist, hitherto discussed mostly in an ethnographic context, into an already globalized framework shaped by transcultural contacts. The issue's focus, therefore, is on considering the role of museums as institutions that establish canons. It takes into account colonial history and the processes of globalisation concomitant to it in the nineteenth century, with a view to promoting discussion of the rhetoric surrounding a ‘history of discovery’ in the South Seas.

The authors discuss the topic with reference to current art historical debates on transculturality, post-coloniality, migration and the historicity of artistic ascriptions. Of concern here are questions of authenticity: Lindauer's paintings are considered documentary, authentic representations of Māori culture. There is also a focus on photography because of the decisive role it has in this discourse. For the purpose of considering Lindauer’s portraiture in more detail and of placing it in an art-historical context, the issue pays due attention to the politics of painting at that time.

Gottfried Lindauer – Painting New Zealand therefore breaks new ground in the debate on cultural transfer processes of the 19th century. It generates new and exciting perspectives on past as well as present and even future exhibition regimes, addressing questions of colonial self-presentation and representation, both of which are intellectually intriguing and currently the subject of politically-charged controversy. The dissonance between how the Māori used and valued portraiture and how the West viewed and reflected on the pictorial is discussed, as are projections and re-projections of the ‘exotic’ in painting and negotiations over the documentary and the pictorial.

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the many people who have helped us, only a few of whom we can mention here. Our thanks are due especially to Britta Schmitz, who supported the project in so many ways and provided the initial idea for the entire project. For their generous financial support, we would like to thank Museum&Location.

We would also like to thank Dr. Andrea Lermer who has guided us through the RIHA Journal publication process, and our research assistants Nina Bethscheider und Sevil Mutlu for their support with the picture search and with conforming to formal citation requirements.

The aforementioned conference and this resulting special issue of the RIHA Journal would not have been possible without the great dedication of our contributors.

Thanks also to Prof. Dr. Susanne Leeb and Prof. Dr. Joachim Rees for their valuable contributions at the conference.

We are grateful for the reliable and helpful support that we have received from the following colleagues, who contributed to the success of this publication with their expertise and constructive criticism: Prof. Dr. Eva Kernbauer (University of Applied Arts Vienna), Prof. Dr. Bärbel Küster (University of Zurich), Dr. Eva Rabe (Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt am Main) and Prof. Dr. Melanie Ulz (University of Osnabrück).

Our thanks also go to Cathleen Cross who did the proofreading and the translations of the texts written by non-native speakers.

We extend our sincere thanks to all those who helped make this publication possible.

Special Issue Guest Editors

Alexandra Karentzos, Miriam Oesterreich and Britta Schmitz, eds., Gottfried Lindauer – Painting New Zealand, in: RIHA Journal 0189-0197

How to cite

Alexandra Karentzos and Miriam Oesterreich, Editorial, RIHA Journal 0189, 20 July 2018, URL: http://www.riha-journal.org/articles/2018/0189-0197-special-issue-gottfried-lindauer/0189-karentzos-oesterreich, URN: [see metadata]

License

The text of this article is provided under the terms of the Creative Commons License CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0

1 “Anglo-Colonial Notes”, in: Wanganui Herald, vol. XXIV, issue 7005 (14.01.1890), 2, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/wanganui-herald/1890/1/14/2 (accessed 6 Jun 2018).

2 Wilhelm Joest, Tätowiren, Narbenzeichen und Körperbemalen: ein Beitrag zur vergleichenden Ethnologie, Berlin 1887, XIII. Original quote in German: “Bei meinem Besuche der vorjährigen ‘Indian and Colonial Exhibition’ in London sah ich in der neuseeländischen Abtheil