Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki is the principal public gallery in Auckland, New Zealand
and has the most extensive collection of national and international art in New Zealand. It frequently hosts travelling international exhibitions.Set below the hilltop Albert Park
in the central-city area of Auckland, the gallery was established in 1888 as the first permanent art gallery in New Zealand.
The NEW Gallery, across the road from the main gallery, shows contemporary art. It is located in the former Auckland Telephone Exchange Building which was converted in 1995 into a rather daring fusion of Edwardian and contemporary architecture.
The Auckland Gallery collection was initially dominated by European old master paintings following the standard taste of the 19th century. Today the collection has expanded to include a wider variety of periods, styles and media, and numbers over 15,000 artworks.Many New Zealand and Pacific artists are represented, as well as Europe
and material from the Middle Ages to the present day. Notable New Zealand artists with extensive representation include Gretchen Albrecht, Marti Friedlander, C.F. Goldie, Alfred Henry O'Keeffe, Frances Hodgkins, Gottfried Lindauer and Colin McCahon.
In 1915 a collection of paintings of Mäori by Gottfried Lindauer was donated to the Gallery by Henry Partridge, an Auckland businessman. He made the gift on the proviso that the people of Auckland raise 10,000 pounds for the Belgium
Relief Fund. The money was raised within a few weeks.
Another major benefactor was Lucy Carrington Wertheim. Miss Wertheim was an Art Gallery owner in London and through her support of expatriate artist Frances Hodgkins bestowed on the Auckland Art Gallery a representative collection of British paintings from the interwar period. Her gifts in 1948 and 1950 totalled 154 works by modern British artists, including Christopher Wood, Frances Hodgkins.
In 1953 Rex Nan Kivell donated an important collection of prints, including work by George French Angas, Sydney Parkinson, Nicholas Chevalier, and Augustus Earle. The 1960s saw the arrival of the Watson Bequest, a collection of European medieval art. In 1967 the Spencer collection of early English and New Zealand Water colours was donated, this included early New Zealand views by John Gully, John Hoyt, and John Kinder.
The main gallery building was originally designed by Melbourne architects Grainger & Charles D'Ebro to house not only the Art gallery but also the City Council Offices, Lecture Theatre and Public Library. It is constructed of brick and plaster in an early French Renaissance style and was completed in 1887, with an extension built in 1916.
In the late 2000s, a major extension was mooted, which caused substantial criticism from some quarters due to its cost, design and the fact that land from Albert Park would be required for the extension. In 2008, Council decided to go ahead with the extension, which finished in 2011 for a total of NZ$113 million, of which
Council contributed just under NZ$50 million.