From Montana award-winning author Jill Trevelyan comes the first biography of Peter McLeavey, the charismatic, pioneering art dealer who since the 1960s has shaped – even transformed – New Zealand art. McLeavey’s personal story is remarkable, but his contemporaries will recognise common themes: the religious upbringing, the struggle to be bohemian in repressive mid-century small town New Zealand, the challenges of marriage and fatherhood, the dilemma of whether to stay or leave New Zealand, and the need to make a mark. Through exclusive access to McLeavey’s extensive and hitherto untapped archive of letters, diaries, exhibition files and more, this book offers insights into the artists McLeavey has represented across half a century. Here, in their own words – lively, salty, and often heart-breaking – are Colin McCahon, Toss Woollaston, Len Lye, Milan Mrkusich, Bill Hammond, Gordon Walters, Michael Illingworth, Robin White, Richard Killeen, John Reynolds, Yvonne Todd and many more. Far more than a simple biography, this is the big story of contemporary New Zealandart itself, in a period of massive change and growth, and Trevelyan offers an utterly fresh and compelling historical account of the birth of the modern art market and the status of art today. A must-read for anyone interested in New Zealand’s art, culture or recent history.
Te Papa Press
The Life and Times of a New Zealand Art Dealer