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Object: Maori figures looking across an estuary

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Title Maori figures looking across an estuary
Production Steele, Louis John
Medium summary oil on panel
Materials oil paint, wood, panels
Classification oil paintings
Dimensions Image: 108mm (Height) x 258mm (Width)
Frame: 254mm (Height) x 406mm (Width) x 23mm (Depth)
Credit line Purchased 1997 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds
Registration number 1997-0036-7

These small, informally painted views offer intimate studies of everyday Maori life in the late 1800s. They depict humble, sentimental scenes - in contrast to the staged, grandiose paintings by Lindauer and Goldie in this gallery.

The artist, John Louis Steele, appears to have used free brushstrokes and sketchily defined figures to convey a sense of immediacy. But the shimmering palette and impressionist style are deceptive. Both scenes are rich in detail, evident in the foliage, fire, and food, and the child waiting under the pataka (storehouse).

Ko tā ngā pikitia iti nei, he āta whakaahua i te noho a te Māori i ngā tau 1800. He noho hūmarire, he noho mauritau – he rerekē anō ki te āhua o ngā pikitia whakahirahira a Lindauer rāua ko Goldie i nga pakitara o tēnei whare toi.

Ko tā John Louis Steele, he tuku noa i tana paraihe kia rere, hei whakaahua i ngā tāngata, i te wāhi. He tinihanga noa te pīataata mai o ngā tae me tana whai i nga tikanga toi kōpura;. Kua ā ta tā ia ngā ā huatanga katoa o ngā pikitia, hei tauira ko te hanganga o ngā rā kau, o te ahi, o te kai, o ngā pā taka me te tamaiti e whanga atu rā.

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