Showgirl and Gentlemen
1961, 1500 x 1000mm, Oil on canvas
Pat Hanly was an apprentice hairdresser for four years, during which time he attended night school classes in art. From 1952, he studied for three years at the University of Canterbury’s School of Fine Arts, where he was taught by Bill Sutton and Russell Clark.
In 1957, he travelled to London, where he continued taking night classes and had his first solo show at the Comedy Gallery. In 1959, he took a job as stage manager at the Gargoyle Club from which experience the Showgirl series was to come. An Italian government scholarship in 1960 allowed him to paint the series in Florence, and a Dutch government grant made possible the Massacre of the Innocents series.
In Europe, Hanly saw important and influential shows of work by Jackson Pollock and Pablo Picasso and absorbed the work of Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, and particularly Francis Bacon. In 1962, he and his wife, the noted photographer Gil Hanly, returned to Tāmaki Makaurau. In 1963, he accepted a part-time lectureship at the University of Auckland’s School of Architecture, a position from which he retired in 1992.
Hanly has represented Aotearoa in many exhibitions, including the Biennales de Paris of 1963 and 1965. A retrospective toured New Zealand in 1974. Of his numerous public commissions, those at the Christchurch Town Hall, Auckland International Airport, and the Aotea Centre are the best known.