I've just finished reading 'Peter McLeavey, The Life and Times of a New Zealand Art Dealer' by Jill Trevelyan.
Its one of those books that leaves you so sad when you get to the last page because you don't want it to be over, that you start again at the first page to get a reminder of exactly how it all started.
It includes reproductions of the paintings it covers all the way through the book, and contains numerous letters between the dealer and the artists. The letters are personal, and give an incredible insight into the lives of both Peter and the artists, and for the times they are written in.
Peters Gallery, the first dealer gallery in Wellington, started with him displaying paintings in the front bedroom of his shared flat on the Terrace, open by appointment, with his bed covered by a divan his mother stitched so it didnt look like a bed!
In 1968 his first 2 exhibitions were Toss Woollaston, paintings, drawings and watercolours, followed by Colin McCahon, the Northland Panels. The book covers exhibitions up until exhibition number 534, in March 2013.
Peters belief in art, as articulated in his letters, is profound.
'McLeavey’s biography is the big story of contemporary New Zealand art itself, in a period of massive change and growth. It is a must-read for anyone interested in New Zealand’s art, culture, or recent history'