Artist Profile

John Gully

Born 1818, Died 1888

Born in Bath, Gully and his family immigrated to New Zealand in 1852, settling first in Taranaki and in 1860, after being invalided out of the Army, they moved to Nelson. Settling there permanently, Gully was appointed drawing master at Nelson College, before taking up the position of draftsman for the Lands and Survey Office in 1863. He met James Crowe Richmond and the pair later became lifelong friends often travelling and painting together.

Janet Paul describes the artist in New Zealand's Romantic Landscape, Paintings by John Gully as:

"modest, guileless and gentle, John Gully was the most popular and best loved artist of his time. His contemporaries responded to his romanticizing of harsh New Zealand landscape, to emphasis he gave atmosphere, to his delight in changing light. He made the strange familiar . . ." (page 11).

An extremely popular artist in his time, Gully is now regarded as one of New Zealand's foremost landscape painters. Painting almost entirely in watercolour, he has been highly praised for his "atmospheric effects". In 1886 he exhibited at the Melbourne Inter-Colonial Exhibition and in 1889, a year after his death, the New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition in Dunedin featured a special showing of his works.

John Gully is represented in the public collections of the Auckland Art Gallery, Aigantighe Art Gallery Timaru, Anderson Park Art Gallery Invercargill, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Canterbury Museum Christchurch, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Gisborne Museum and Arts Centre, Hawkes Bay Museum, Hocken Library, Robert McDougall Art Gallery, Rotorua Museum of Art and History, Sarjeant Gallery, Suter Art Gallery, Taranaki Museum, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the Alexander Turnbull Library.

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