About Ferner Galleries

About Ferner Galleries

FERNER GALLERIES: The first two decades

Founded in 1985 by Peter and Adrienne Jarvis, who had collected New Zealand fine art for nearly twenty years, the gallery rapidly established itself as a specialist dealer, buying and selling high quality original New Zealand art.

The first Ferner Gallery opened in Eden Crescent, Auckland, on 22 June 1985 with a retrospective survey exhibition of works by Rudi Gopas, a central figure within New Zealand art and an influential teacher at the School of Fine Arts in Christchurch. The fledgling gallery quickly grew from 'appointment-only' and expanded to also represent a few carefully selected artists. Director Helene Phillips joined the company in early 1988 and further growth soon demanded a move to new premises in Parnell.

The new location created a more substantial and permanent retail focus for the business and within two years, Ferner Galleries purchased a controlling interest in the established Christchurch based dealership Ritchies Fine Arts. This established a national identity for the business and, for the first time, artists could be offered representation by the same art dealer in both the North and South Islands.

In 1990 when a second gallery dedicated to the display of Contemporary Art was opened in Christchurch, the Ferner Galleries Group published its first major art catalogue in a format which had never been seen before in New Zealand. Based on similar publications by leading dealer galleries in London and New York, the inaugural issue was well received, establishing the benchmark for quality in commercial NZ art publications.

In March 1992, Ferner Galleries gained national coverage when it opened its first Wellington based gallery in an historical building in Glenmore Street, close to the Karori tunnel.

About this time, research confirmed that art collectors located in regional areas did not have the opportunity to view and purchase fine works of art, and in July that year, Ferner Galleries undertook its first 'touring exhibition,' to Taranaki. This was soon followed by visits to other North Island centres and over the next decade exhibitions were held in Taranaki, Hawkes Bay, Bay of Plenty, Manawatu, Wairarapa, and the Bay of Islands, displaying quality artworks to collectors in these regions. In 1996, following the closure of Ritchies Fine Arts, Timaru, Nelson, Marlborough, Dunedin, Queenstown and Wanaka were added to the touring programme. Some exhibitions supported local fund-raising efforts, including the Nelson College 150th Jubilee in April 2006 and Woodford House in Hawkes Bay.

From the beginning, Ferner Galleries committed to presenting major retrospective exhibitions by significant New Zealand artists, despite the enormous difficulties in sourcing sufficient numbers of quality paintings for sale. Many of these exhibitions such as those for Doris Lusk and Helen Stewart, were toured nationally, and were accompanied by well researched and fully illustrated publications.

Responding to the increasing demand for contemporary art, and particularly for contemporary Maori and Pacific art, an additional gallery was established in Lorne Street in Auckland City to focus on twentieth century artworks. In August 2002, Ferner Galleries City opened with a sell-out retrospective exhibition of over 40 works by Ralph Hotere.

Many successful solo artist and group exhibitions followed, including established artists such as Kura Te Waru Rewiri, Ian Scott, Richard Killeen, Patrick Hanly, and supported by emerging artists such as Saffronn Te Ratana and David Thomas.

FERNER GALLERIES: The second two decades

After the loss of Director Adrienne Jarvis in 2005, Peter moved to his holiday home in Taupo; and in 2008, Helene joined him there. That was the beginning of a new chapter in the life of Ferner Galleries: semi-retirement!

Having been specialists in the resale of high quality original New Zealand art from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries, Peter and Helene opened their spectacular home for art lovers to enjoy their collection. Over 200 artworks displayed in a contemporary setting with views overlooking Lake Taupo and an extensive native garden with sculpture placed throughout.

As their retirement moves into the second decade, Peter and Helene are now offering for sale selected artworks from their own personal collections, and viewing has returned to its beginnings: by appointment.

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