New Zealand’s longest established corporate art collection, founded in 1962. Showcasing the whole scope of New Zealand painting from the late 18th Century to today, it is still growing.
The Fletcher Trust Collection’s paintings come from the whole sweep of New Zealand’s art history. The Trust’s purchasing policy supports the work of both emerging and well-established New Zealand artists. Fletcher Building’s offices at Penrose, Auckland are the home of the art collection. Specially curated exhibitions of paintings from the collection regularly tour New Zealand public art galleries.
Peter Shaw was appointed the first full-time Curator of the Collection in 1991. He is responsible for recommending purchases for the art collection to the Fletcher Trust, for curating regular exhibitions both within the Fletcher Building complex at Penrose and also special touring exhibitions so that the public of New Zealand can enjoy the collection.
The Fletcher Challenge Ceramics Award 1977–1996
The partnership between Auckland Studio Potters and Fletcher Challenge Limited which resulted in the annual Fletcher Challenge Ceramics Award celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 1996. At that time it ranked, along with those at Faenza, Italy and Mino, Japan as one of the three most prestigious Ceramic Award exhibitions in the world and was eagerly supported by ceramists everywhere. Although the Fletcher sponsorship of the award ceased in 1997 the collection of prizewinning pieces assembled during the Award’s twenty-year history is now part of the Fletcher Trust Art Collection.
It is still reasonably common for corporate or professional offices in New Zealand to display paintings, sculpture or ceramics in their premises. Invariably staff members develop a lively interest in what hangs on their own office walls and in the corporate corridors. By this exposure many are encouraged to think about aesthetic values, to pursue an interest in art and to discover that, far from being an area of mystery, the visual arts have much to contribute to their lives.
With these values in mind a collection of New Zealand paintings was initiated in the Fletcher group of companies as early in 1962.
Before 1962 the panelled plywood walls of the offices of what was then called Fletcher Holdings were sparsely decorated. The company’s Penrose Head Office, designed by the architect Henry Kulka in 1940, exhibited architectural qualities of great simplicity and elegance; it was not intended that paintings should form part of the decorative scheme. Such was also generally the case in Head Offices throughout New Zealand although many chose to exhibit the ubiquitous hand-coloured White’s Aviation aerial landscape photographs.