Artist Profile

Pat Hanly

Born 1932, Died 2004

Russell Haley, close friend of the artist and author of 'Hanly: A New Zealand Artist' reminds us that, as a primary school student, Pat Hanly's "total preoccupation with painting and drawing was actively discouraged by a male teacher". In 1948, prior to Hanly completing his fourth form year at Palmerston North Boys High, his parents withdrew him from school and organised his apprenticeship with Bert Pratt Ltd, in the hope that Hanly would become a hairdresser.

With his first wages, Hanly bought a book of Rembrandt's drawings, which his mother quickly removed, to ensure that her son was not exposed to any nudes. His mother encouraged him to enrol in night classes at the Palmerston North Technical College, which led to Hanly sitting his art school preliminary examinations in 1951. Due to the fact that Hanly left school before he matriculated, Hanly enrolled in 1952 as a non-Diploma student at the Canterbury College School of Art. As a non-Diploma student, no records of his achievements were ever kept, however, it is well known that Hanly won the 1953 Turner Prize for Landscape which was open to all students.

After leaving the Canterbury College School of Art, Hanly travelled to Europe. In 1959 he worked as the Stage Manager of the Gargoyle Club in London before receivong an Italian Government Scholarship in 1960, which allowed him to paint the 'Showgirl' series in Florence. A subsequent scholarship from the Dutch Government in 1962 enabled Hanly to paint 'The Massacre of the Innocents Series', a series that has been nearly completely destroyed by Hanly, in his efforts to maintain his mantra of "do no early works". To this end, Hanly has destroyed, repainted or 'cleaned' any works that did not meet his high standards.

Returning to New Zealand in 1962, Hanly began painting full time, although he accepted a part time lectureship in drawing at the Auckland University School of Architecture. Hanly won the Manawatu Prize for Contemporary Art in 1966, and in 1963, '64 and '67 his works were included in international exhibitions of New Zealand art.

Hanly often worked in series, and his most well known series include: 'Figures in Light,' 'Fire and Vacation', 'The Fire this Time', 'Massacre of the Innocents', 'Pure Painting and Condition', 'Thunderland', 'Fire', 'Innocence', 'Pacific Icons', 'Energy', 'Inside the Garden', 'Torso' and 'Golden Age'.

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