Art reflects life
27 Feb 2019
As a preamble to their study of the French colonisation of Akaroa, senior French students had the privilege of viewing some important etchings held in the collection of Christchurch Art Gallery | Te Puna o Waiwhetū. The etchings were created by celebrated French engraver and artist Charles Méryon (1821–1868), who spent time in Akaroa in the 1840s.
Curator Peter Vangioni explained why these works are important to the gallery and the New Zealand collection, and the boys were able to see up close the intense detail in the scenes depicted. The images tell us much about first contact and the early colonisation of Banks Peninsula, documenting life in the small French settlement. It was also interesting to discover Peter Vangioni is a direct descendant of two prominent Akaroa French families, with a close personal connection to the area. We are very grateful to both him and the Christchurch Art Gallery for this opportunity to view these art treasures.