A Kiwi at Brideshead

Past Exhibition
17 Jun – 27 Sep 2009

Felix Kelly: Christmas Card c. 1939

Felix Kelly: Christmas Card c. 1939

Felix Kelly (1914-1994) fled New Zealand as a young man for the bright lights of the UK. He established himself as a graphic designer in 1930s London before moving into stage and interior design in the 1950s, as well as establishing himself as a painter.

Kelly developed a romantic, surreal style and cultivated a rich, upper-class clientele. His career bore a startling resemblance to that of Charles Ryder in the Evelyn Waugh novel Brideshead Revisited.

Focusing on Kelly’s output until the mid 1960s, the exhibition ranges from paintings to book illustrations, and from cartoons to design for the stage. This body of work shows Kelly as an artist of whimsical imagination and invention. It also adds a new complexity and depth to New Zealand’s art history.

Curated by Dr Don Bassett; developed and toured by Hawke's Bay Museum & Art Gallery, Napier.