Charles Frederick Goldie was born in Auckland. His talent for drawing and painting was recognised at an early age, and on encouragement his parents sought extra tuition for him with artist Louis Steele. In 1892 Goldie went on to study in France at the Academic Julian in Paris, returning 4 ½ years later in 1898 when he established the "French Academy of Art" with Steele.
The two shared a studio and collaborated on the large painting The Arrival of the Maori’s in New Zealand, based on Théodore Géricault The Raft of the Medusa. This work, held in the Auckland Art Gallery collection, depicts exhausted Polynesian mariners sighting land after a long journey by catamaran. Its artistic merits were praised at the time and it is regarded to have launched Goldie's career.
Goldie and Steele parted ways not long afterwards and Goldie established his own studio. From 1901 he made field trips to meet, sketch and photograph Māori people in their own locations, and he also paid Māori visitors to Auckland to sit for him. Most of these were chiefs visiting the Native Land Court.
By far the majority of Goldie's subjects were elderly, tattooed Māori of considerable standing. The practice of tattooing (Tā moko) was no longer current at the time, and the remaining examples were mostly elderly; it was also a practice largely confined to high-status individuals.
Goldie dedicated his life to painting the Māori chiefs, Māori leaders and their communities, who also became his friends. He lived with them on their various marae and spoke fluent Māori. His wish was to preserve the heritage of the Maori people, whom he admired.
Goldie's health eventually deteriorated through lead poisoning (from the lead white used to prepare his canvases). In order to create the finest of detail in his paintings, he would lick the end of his paint brush to ensure an even finer tip.
Goldie stopped painting in 1941 and died on 11 July 1947, aged 76.
Provenance: Signed upper left corner, brown pigment, brush
Framing: Framed in original black stained wooden frame
Framed Dimensions: 255mm W x 305mm H
Independent valuation and conservation report documentation (July 2020) is available on request. For all enquiries please contact Gill Hay on 021 0227 1157 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This unique work has been held in a private collection in Australia for many years and has recently fortunately returned to Christchurch, New Zealand.
The painting is in the original black stained frame with the maker’s label attached to the reverse; McGregor Wright’s picture frame makers. McGregor Wright was the frame maker for C F Goldie in Wellington. A number 15 exhibition sticker is also affixed. This painting was exhibited at the 37th annual Canterbury Society of Arts exhibition in 1917, listed as exhibit number 15.