Borrow an original Colin McCahon from the library

Ronald O’Reilly
City Librarian Ron O’Reilly in 1958. Setting the bar high for art-loving librarians.

It is true. Back in the day, you could borrow Red and black landscape by Colin McCahon from the library. This blows my mind.

Canterbury Public Library had a lending collection of original New Zealand art works for 37 years. The collection was established by then City Librarian Ron O’Reilly who went on to become Director of the New Zealand Library School in Wellington and of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth.

Original works of art were bought from 2 May 1955 (The cat by Louise Henderson and Untitled (woman with fabric)  by Alison Pickmere) until 4 March 1981 (Oaro & Amuri Bluff by Margaret Rhodes and Things that go bump in the night by Stephanie Sheehan).

In October 2001, 115 paintings were formally gifted to the Christchurch Art Gallery, and more after that.

So have a browse of the Canterbury Public Library collection on the Christchurch Art Gallery website.

And imagine how cool it would have been to have one hanging up in your lounge. Choice.
Red and Black landscape by Colin McCahon

2 thoughts on “Borrow an original Colin McCahon from the library

  1. Gallivanta 9 August 2013 / 12:14 pm

    What a pity this lending service no longer exists 😦

  2. Robyn 30 August 2013 / 5:52 pm

    When I was a pupil at Avonside Girls’ High School we took turns to chose a painting from the Library collection to hang on the wall of the Sixth Form Common Room. What larks! I remember choosing a Doris Lusk (although it was ‘most atypical’ said the art teacher dismissively). I think the loan period was three months.

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