After Melvin Day died in 2016, over 90 of his artworks, all previously gifted to his late wife, Oroya, during their long and happy marriage, were accessioned into the permanent collections of institutional art galleries and museums throughout Aotearoa.
Each year the Oroya & Melvin Day Charitable Trust sell a carefully selected number of artworks from the Trust’s collection to fund their scholarship and grants programme. The 18 artworks being offered for sale in the Melvin Day– the legacy exhibition span seven decades of the artist’s practice, beginning with a classic watercolour of hydrangeas Day painted for his mother when he went to live with his parent in Ngongotahā, Rotorua, after the war, and concluding with the last series of landscapes he painted of Wellington Harbour. Most of these late harbour landscapes are studies in oil on paper but the Trust has also included one large oil on canvas, probably the last work on canvas Day completed.
Four of the Still Life works are from Day’s notable Cubist period of 1950s, when he was one of a small group of avant-garde artists daring enough to experiment with European modernist concepts in conservative mid-20th Century New Zealand. All of Day’s major cubist works on panel or canvas are now in museum collections. This exhibition overs collectors a rare opportunity to acquire vintage works by an artist firmly established within the canon of New Zealand Art History.
The proceeds from all artworks sold will contribute to the Oroya & Melvin Day Charitable Trust’s annual programme of grants to the Art History and New Zealand Heritage sectors.