93 | Sir George Grey - Greatest Kiwi of All Time 2023

93 | Sir George Grey - Greatest Kiwi of All Time 2023

28 March 2023 8:30AM

Greatest Kiwi Of All Time: No. 93 - Sir George Grey (Down 86 from 7 last year)

1891 - Sir George Grey, Governor of New Zealand is pursuing paintings at the Auckland Academy of Art.  While taking in the landscapes of newly colonial New Zealand, Grey is stopped in his tracks by two stunning still-life portraits - ‘New Zealand fish’ and ‘New Zealand birds’.  The signature on the painting - a CF Goldie.

Charles Goldie would spend seven years in Paris, training at the famous Academie Julian.  When returning to Aotearoa in 1898, Goldie established the ‘French Academy of Art’ with his tutor Lewis Steele.  They collaborated on the painting ‘The Arrival of the Māoris in New Zealand’, It’s representation of a starving crew arriving in a fanciful catamaran was widely shunned by Māori.

In 1901 Goldie started painting Māori in his own studio.  He would pay iwi leaders to sit for him, often when they were visiting Auckland to attend the Native Land Court.

And it is for these paintings that Goldie would become recognised.  He would paint tattooed, elderly, Māori chiefs, of significant status.  They would often also become his friends.  In order to create the finest detail in each portrait, he would lick the end of his paintbrush to ensure an even finer tip.  His health would deteriorate as a result of lead poisoning.

Goldie’s work became internationally known, especially after he exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in the mid-1930s.  He died in 1947, aged 76.

Charles Goldie’s works would go on to be some of the most highly sought after artistic works in New Zealand.  The 1941 oil painting of Wharekauri Tahuna was the first painting in New Zealand history to break the $1 million mark, reaching a top price of $1.175 million.

In a quirky twist, the convicted art forger Karl Sim changed his name legally to Carl Feodor Goldie in the 1980s in order to be able to "legitimately" sign his Goldie copies "C.F. Goldie".

C.F. Charles Goldie.  A stunning artist, one of our best, and definitely one of Today FM’s Greatest Kiwis of All Time.