Pare Watana (also known as Pare Watene) is a figure in the Māori Ngāti Maru culture who is famous for his beauty. Her prominence can be discerned by the rare Wea feathers in her hair and her mere pounamu (a short, wide-bladed weapon shaped like an enlarged teardrop). The painting is from the New Zealand painter Gottfried Lindauer, and is a powerful example of Lindauer’s reputation for fine portraiture. How did he become the leading Māori painter of the 19th century? In 1874, shortly after Lindauer arrived in New Zealand, he met Partridge, a young businessman in Auckland. Partridge became his biggest patron, commissioning a large number of portraits that were eventually displayed in a room upstairs in the Queen Street store. He kept a visitor guest book where many people expressed their appreciation and praise for these lifelike portraits. The Lindauer Gallery became a major tourist attraction, and Partridge even produced a catalog of portraits with historian James Cowan.
If you like this painting, you might also be interested in Karl Bodmer ‘s beautiful portraits of Native Americans.
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102.8 x 85.5 cm
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
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