60. Leonard Victor Mitchell
The Separation of Rangi and Papa
Oil on canvas
117 x 117 cm
Signed & dated 1969
est. $12,000 - 18,000
Relative Size: The Separation of Rangi and Papa
Relative size

Artist's Estate Collection

Illustrated: p. 262 Mitchell and Mitchell: A Father & Son Arts Legacy, Alsop, Reed, Wolfe 2018

Victor Leonard William Mitchell was born in Palmerston North, 1925, the son of Leonard Cornwall Mitchell, an artist and internationally recognised stamp designer. Encouraged by his father, at age fourteen, young Leonard Mitchell who showed artistic talent from a very early age, commenced his studies as the Wellington Technical College School of Art with tutors Frederick Ellis , Alex Fraser and Nugent Welch. The art department's head, Frederick Ellis, thought Mitchell's work outstanding and wanted him to continue his training at the Canterbury College School of Art. Instead, Mitchell felt it his duty to join the New Zealand army. He was bound for Okinawa as a war artist but, after the American invasion in 1945, was employed at home guarding Japanese Prisoners of War at Featherston. The vivid drawings he made of the prisoners are held in the collection of Alexander Turnbull Library. A series of intricate etchings of circus performers, done in 1949, shows Mitchell's technical prowess. Between 1952 and 1959 he exhibited at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts and became New Zealand's most fashionable portrait painter. His sitters included Ngaio Marsh, Walter Nash and Peter McIntyre. In October 1954 Mitchell opened the Lambton Art Galleries, one of the first galleries in New Zealand to be run by artists in residence. Many important artists of the day exhibited here, including Nugent Welch, Mervyn Taylor, John Drawbridge and the potter Len Castle. In 1956 Mitchell completed a major public commission for the newly built Lower Hutt War Memorial Library. The commission comprised of three canvas murals entitled Their Sacrifice, Preserved Freedom and Human Endeavour, the third containing 50 life-sized figures which represent different aspects of human endeavour, including education, farming and the arts. Mitchell won the inaugural Kelliher prize in 1956 with his work Summer in the Mokauiti Valley and again in 1958 with Stormlight and Snow, Ruahine Mountains. Mitchell was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London and in 1959 was awarded the Netherlands Government Art Fellowship by the Netherlands Institute for International Cultural Relations. He held his final New Zealand exhibition at the New Lambton Gallery in September the same year. Mitchell married flautist, Patricia Marian Nickalls in 1960. They left for Holland to take up Mitchell's Fellowship and later settled in Essex. In September 1971 Mitchell was awarded the Gold Medal from the Royal Society of Watercolour Painters, London. It was presented by the Cultural Attaché a l'Ambassade de France, Madame Bridgette Marger. The ceremony was presided over by the Lord Mayor of London, Sir Robert Bellinger. Mitchell passed away in England in 1980. Leonard Mitchell featured in a documentary titled Leonards Legacy on the TVNZ show Sunday Sunday 29 April 2018 - It can be viewed on demand here https://www.tvnz.co.nz/shows/sunday/clips/ leonard-s-legacy