Artist Profile

Gabrielle Hope

Born 1916, Died 1960

Gabrielle Hope was born in Lower Hutt in 1916, studied at Elam School of Fine Arts, and exhibited her work in a number of group shows in Auckland and Hamilton from 1946. In 1955 and 1957 she held solo exhibitions at the Auckland Society of Arts and at Argus House Gallery. Since her sudden early death at the age of forty-six, there have been three posthumous exhibitions at dealer galleries: in the mid-sixties, early seventies and most recently in 1983.

Hope's work was mainly executed in watercolour and gouache and is characterised by a lively spontaneity of approach, a lightness of touch and swiftly painted brushstrokes. There is a freshness about her perception and style that owes something to her interest in Chinese painting. Her choice of subjects ranged from landscape and still life, to figures, portraits and animals. Some of these works reflect her strong interest in mysticism and in western and eastern occult traditions, while others clearly reflect her admiration for the work of Frances Hodgkins.

1953, the year of her remarriage and move to Milford, proved to be the beginning of a particularly productive phase in her work - aided also no doubt by the opportunities provided by the building of a studio.

Gabrielle Hope, in common with a number of other women artists including Gwen John, Grace Joel, Flora Scales and May Smith was extremely modest about her work and very reticent to exhibit it. This, together with the lack of suitable venues in New Zealand in the 1950s, has contributed to the relatively low profile the artist has been accorded in New Zealand art history.

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