Weekend focus Saturday, November 26, 2016
Treasure trove of artist’s work A treasure trove of paintings and drawings by Methven retired artist Viera Beattie have been discovered following her death last month. Susan Sandys reports.
iera Beattie was six weeks short of her 100th birthday when she passed away last month. The retired artist was considered reserved and private, leading an unassuming life as a resident of 30 years in one of the self-contained units at Methven House. Viera got an early start to her artistic career, winning prizes in her youth at the Methven A&P Show. She went on to become a teacher as well as an artist, and is believed to have retired from painting about 20 years ago. Never having married and being an only child, it was left to friends and relatives to discover a treasure trove of her work following her death. They were overwhelmed by the large number of paintings, drawings, sketches and calligraphy items, not to mention the high quality of the works. There are an estimated more than 100 works, which are currently being exhibited at the Methven Art Gallery at the Methven Heritage Centre. Viera was not so modest that she did not delight in showing some friends her works over the years. “She would always like to show something she had done,” said one friend, while another said she had hardly seen any of the pieces despite visiting her regularly. They described her work, including composition, portraits, landscape and still life, as “extraordinary”. The discovery got her friends and relatives delving into her interesting artistic past, and organising an exhibition at the Methven Art Gallery. Viera studied drawing and painting at Julian Ashton Art School Sydney 1951 to 1955, and also studied lettering and calligraphy in the city. She exhibited around New Zealand including with New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts Wellington from 1956, Canterbury Society of Arts and Ashburton Society of Arts from 1965, and won several art prizes. Her work made its way into public and private collections in New Zealand, as well as in England, France and Australia. The Methven community benefited from having such a strong artistic talent in its midst, and she undertook a variety of jobs including designing the Methven Lions Club logo, Mt Hutt skifield monograms, and doing gold lettering on Methven Cemetery headstones.
PHOTO ASHBURTON GUARDIAN
Above – Viera Beattie helps Methven A&P Association members in 2012 in preparation for the 100th show. Right – An exhibition of Viera Beattie’s work is at the Methven Art Gallery.
PHOTOS SUSAN SANDYS 231116-SS-011
Above – Relative Jan Clucas and friends Vivienne Lamb and Margaret Johnson organise artworks at the exhibition. Right – Drawings are among over 100 artworks discovered. 231116-SS-010
Published on Dec 1, 2016