Author(s): Peter Alsop; Anna Reed; Richard Wolfe
Leonard C. Mitchell and Leonard V. Mitchell ¿ father and son ¿ are two forgotten artistic heroes. Now, critically studied for the first time, their highlight reel runs long. No other family can likely claim such a diverse contribution to New Zealand art. This beautifully designed and illustrated title brings together these amazing New Zealanders and breathes life into their phenomenal artistic legacy. Leonard Cornwall Mitchell (1901¿71) has been called the father of New Zealand graphic design; a stand-out illustrator and designer. Some of Mitchell¿s posters, including his welcoming wahine for the Centennial Exhibition, are graphic masterpieces; the epitome of great design. For Mitchell¿s first son, Leonard Victor Mitchell (1925-80), art was a natural family fix. At age 31, he won the first Kelliher Art Award and painted one of New Zealand¿s most ambitious murals (Human Endeavour, installed in Lower Hutt¿s War Memorial Library). But within four years, despite another Kelliher win and multiple big-name portrait commissions, Mitchell moved to Europe, pushed out by Modernism never to return again. Only now, through privileged access to his own repatriated collection, can Mitchell¿s art be fully understood. This incredible body of work has been carefully crafted by the author Peter Alsop and designer Anna Reed (Leonard V. Mitchell¿s grand-daughter), and is a fantastic edition to the kernels of New Zealand¿s art history.