Painted Nigerian sculptures meet artworks by Colin McCahon and walls packed with paintings by 1950s and 1960s New Zealand modernists. Ron O'Reilly – Christchurch City Librarian from 1951 to 1968 – was a passionate believer in the importance of art and supporting progressive artists.
O'Reilly instigated the public library's art loan collection and, for a modest fee, library members could borrow original works of art by artists such as Lusk, McCahon, Woollaston or Fomison.
A natural collector with his own impressive art collection, he also collected traditional African art. This exhibition celebrates O'Reilly's significance as a collector and champion of the arts.
Curated by Ken Hall
Text taken from Christchurch Art Gallery website.