Thesis DisciplineArt History
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
The Group was a loose association of artists, who exhibited together on an annual basis in Christchurch, from 1927 until 1977, when it disbanded. It was founded by artists who wished to retain control over the work they exhibited. The members selected their own exhibits and displayed them as they saw fit. The format of the shows once established, remained relatively unchanged, even though the membership varied from year to year. An historical overview of its fifty years of existence illustrates that as alternative opportunites for artists to exhibit increased, the Group's usefulness declined. In its first twenty years the Group was critically well received. The critics were enthusiastic about the new format, and the vitality and variety of works exhibited. The format of the shows, and the general individualism fostered, encouraged experimentation. The critics also responded to developments in landscape painting, now described as regionalism. The Group became a focus for this activity. Seen in a wider context, the Group was one of a number of attempts made by more progressive artists to combat the conservatism of art institutions, and as such was successful because of its lack of organisational structure. The purpose of this study has been to provide a comprehensive picture of the unique character and contribution of this independent group to new developments in New Zealand art.