William Mathew Hodgkins
Born in Liverpool, WM Hodgkins greatly admired the atmospheric effects in the work of JMW Turner that had a strong influence on his painting.
In 1859 Hodgkins immigrated, first to Melbourne and then to Dunedin in 1860 where he settled and practiced as a solicitor. Watercolour painting was his great love and he gave his energy to forming the first informal art group in New Zealand, and in fostering the enjoyment of the fine arts. In 1875 the Otago Art Society was formed and Hodgkins was elected as its first president, an office he held until his death.
William Mathew Hodgkins was the undisputed leader of art in Dunedin - he promoted the founding of Dunedin's first art gallery in 1887, actively supported the ambitious Dunedin and South Seas Exhbition of 1889, organised sketching trips and painted constantly until the last years of his life. Among the painters associated with him and the Otago Art Society were George O'Brien, David Con Hutton and AH O'Keeffe.
Hodgkins is represented in the collections of all major galleries throughout the country, including the Hocken and Turnbull Libraries. His work was exhibited regularly at the Otago Art Society between 1876 and 1897, the Centennial Exhibition Melbourne 1888 and the Centennial Exhibition Wellington 1940.