Barbara Brooke: A Trend-Setting Art Professional in New Zealand 1959-1980
Thesis DisciplineArt History
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Barbara Brooke was an early New Zealand arts professional. Born in Belfast, Canterbury, in 1925, Brooke became an important advocate for contemporary New Zealand art and its developing professionalism in Christchurch throughout the late 1950s to 1980.
The intention of this thesis is to examine and acknowledge Brooke’s significant contributions in the establishment of a local professional infrastructure that supported contemporary artists. Although she is virtually unknown today, Brooke established two of Christchurch’s earliest dealer galleries, she was Secretary-Manager of the Canterbury Society of Arts during a time of marked progression, she founded Christchurch’s earliest craft market and she co-produced New Zealand’s innovative and leading professional visual arts magazine. Before many others of her time, Brooke was a serious arts professional who was devoted to the development of professional careers for contemporary New Zealand artists. This thesis asserts Barbara Brooke’s rightful place in the history of art professionalism of this country.