Art Collection

Art At The George

The George's substantial collection of innovative New Zealand art has been selected and refined since the early 1990's by curator Stephen Gleeson, also an accomplished New Zealand sculptor. With a long-term view, the collection has continually developed to reflect the distinctive style of this luxury hotel. The George's collection offers a rare insight in some of New Zealand's most evocative artistic minds, reflecting and recording the blend of cultures, modern politics and events that have helped to shape our Pacific nation.

Hotere art works adorn the walls of The George, Christchurch

Hotel Art Tour

The George has the largest private collection of Ralph Hotere works in New Zealand along with six pieces by renowned Christchurch artist Bill Hammond and more. 

Private tours of the hotel's private art collection are available by arrangement.  Wander the corridors, public spaces and venues of The George with a complimentary glass of Nautilus Cuvee in hand and learn about the techniques and inspiration behind some of New Zealand's most recognised artists.

Cost $50 per person (minimum of 2 people per tour and a minimum of 24 hours notice is required) 

Book through our Concierge team. 

Tours are subject to the availability of a tour guide.

Ralph Hotere

(b. 1931 d.2013) Ralph Hotere was born in Northland and is regarded as one of New Zealand's most important artists.  His powerful visual work reflects events of the day, seamlessly combining politics with poetry, for example, the Black Rainbow series of 1985 about French nuclear testing in the Pacific and the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland's Waitemata Harbour.

He collaborated with printers to create lithographs from 1984 and the prints have followed all his major themes since that time.  He lived and worked in Port Chalmers, Dunedin and is represented extensively in public and private collections in New Zealand and overseas.

There are nine lithographs, one drawing and one etching in The George's Ralph Hotere collection.  Seven of the key works are displayed on a specially designed feature wall in the hotel lobby.  Hotere's work often combines lithography with overdrawing.  One of Hotere's signature images is the heart and the cross.  Hotere had a strong relationship with New Zealand poets, their writings often inscribed in his works.  His close friend, poet Bill Banhire's work is incorporated in the Song Cycle displayed on level 3 in the Parkview Lobby.

"He has never been afraid to show anger in his work, or to take an active position in the wider realm of public opinion"

Stephen Gleeson

(b.1958) Stephen Gleeson graduated with honours in scultpure from the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts.

"He studied printmaking with Barry Cleavin and, together with his then partner Marian Maguire, pioneered the art of lithography in New Zealand."


They collaborated with Ralph Hotere from the mid-1980s.  Stephen now specialises in bronze sculptures and has received many commissions.  He runs his own foundry facility in Christchurch and manages the Limeworks gallery specialising in major New Zealand contemporary artworks available for loan. 

Four bronze violins at The George are part of a sculptural set developed over 13 years by Stephen Gleeson.  They represent a series of laments, with the instruments as a carriage for different stories and meanings. 

With a characteristic degree of humour, Stephen Gleeson has captured a hare in gilded bronze representing life: the process of 'going through' and moving forward with full force.  The stand was originally a wooden crate, expanded to crucifix form and cast in bronze.  This sculpture resides in the outside courtyard of the walkway from The Residence 

Michael Tuffery

(b.1966) Michael Tuffery was born in Wellington, is Samoan and Cook Islander by descent.  He is one of New Zealand's leading contemporary artists, renowned as a printmaker, sculptor and painter.  He attended the fine arts schools of University of Hawai'i and Otago Polytechnic.  

He is a traditional journeyman artist, driven by events.  Everything he achieves comes from his own experience and knowledge, making his art very personal and autobiographical.  

Tuffery explores the artistic heritage of the Pacific in an innovative and dynamic way bringing together the richness of the Pacific using traditional design motifs, stories, dance and song.  

He used innovation to educate his people of the dangers of obesity amongst Samoan's, by creating a series of life-size sculptures of bulls made out of flattened corned beef tins.  The Islanders became addicted to eating the tinned beef, imported after World War II, and it replaced their traditional diet to a great extent.  One of these arresting sculptures is on exhibition at Christchurch Art Gallery. 

Fatu Feu'u

(b. 1946) Fatu Feu'u was born in the village of Poutasi in Western Samoa and is a pioneering and well-respected Polynesian artist.  

Feu'u has established an international reputation as the 'father' of Pacific Island art in New Zealand.  He immigrated to Auckland in 1966.

Unable to go to art school due to lack of funds, he worked as a labourer and painted in his free time at weekends and in the evenings.  

In the late 80s he met Tony Fomison, a highly regarded New Zealand artist, who at this time had become interested in Samoan art and custom.  

Fomison encouraged Feu'u to study his rich cultural roots, including tapa designs and forms of traditional ornaments, and from this basis evolved his very distinctive style 

"often using the frangipani flower shells, frigate birds and mask-like heads as motifs, (Fatu Feu'u) achieved a truly Pacific feel to his paintings." 

Feu'u has exhibited in numerous exhibitions and has work in collections world wide.

John Pule

(b.1962) John Pule was born in Niue, immigrating to New Zealand at the age of two.  He had no formal training, but like Fatu Feu'u he was encouraged by Tony Fomison who provided him with paints and canvas.  His early paintings were experimental and it was not until he returned to Niue in 1991 as an adult that his distinctive voice as an artist emerged.  Like a true Renaissance man, he is an accomplished painter, printmaker, poet and writer.  He is highly inventive in adapting traditional Pacific art forms, and making them his own by creating challenging and provocative art.  

"He uses Neiuean tapa cloth (hiapo) to depict contemporary narratives, substituting canvas for cloth, adapting its layout and palettes of colours."

 Since 1991 Pule has exhibited extensively throughout New Zealand, Australia and Asia-Pacifc regions.  He has held residences at the Cultural Museum in Rarotonga and at Galerie Romerapotheke in Zurich.  In 2004 he was given the prestigious Laureate Award from the Arts Foundation of New Zealand. In 2000 he was the University of Auckland Literary Fellow and in 2002 was distinguished-visiting writer in residence at the University of Hawai'i.

Bronze violin by Stephen Gleeson on display at The George

Bronze work by Lewellyn Summers at The George hotel

Bill Hammond

(b.1947 d.2021) was born in Christchurch.  He studied at the School of Fine Arts Canterbury, and from 1971 until 1981 he worked as a toymaker.  

He became a full time artist and printmaker in 1982, producing surreal images based on popular culture such as comic books and history.  

As a result of a trip to the Auckland Islands in 1989, on an Art in the Sub-Antarctic project, he developed an interest in New Zealand native birds.  

"His works show his concern of endangered species and extinct birds creating a serious undertone in his art." 

However, one could speculate that these hybrid creatures which dominate his paintings are a vision of the future and show the consequences of a consumer society out of control and heading for extinction. 

Llew(ellyn) Summers

(b.1947 d.2019) was a well known Christchurch sculptor whose work is displayed in many public places throughout the city.  They are mainly figurative, in large and simplified forms.  His famous work The Wrestlers, two large round-bodied nudes in wrestling position made out of cast concrete, can be seen on the river's edge in the Botanic Gardens.  His feeling for working with concrete on a grand scale came through his early occupation as a working on major construction projects.  

"His nudes are highly visible where ever they are displayed, so it could be said that Llew Summers is largely responsible for bringing nude sculpture out in the open in Christchurch.  "

Besides working in concrete, he also worked in marble, wood and ceramics.

Barry Cleavin

(b.1939) was born in Dunedin and now lives and works in Christchurch.  He has produced a remarkable body of work chiefly as a maker of etchings, although recent images have been digitally rendered.  Two of his etchings are on display in The Residence.

"Usually figurative, sometimes surreal, and often cryptic the images expose a very individual commentary on the world and its inhabitants." 

Since 1966, Cleavin has exhibited widely throughout New Zealand. He was senior lecturer in Printmaking at the University of Canterbury School of Art from 1978 to 1990, and has been the recipient of various awards including a Fulbright Fellowship in 1983 to work at the Tamarind Institute, Albuquerque, University of New Mexico.  

He was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in 2001.

Stephen Goodenough

(b. 1963) is a stunningly creative photographer, who has won a number of major awards for his work.  

"He is renowned for his commercial and editorial work in the field of architecture, food, fashion and people. " 

Based in Christchurch, Stephen is a fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photographers.  In 2005 he won the NZIPP top award for black and white prints.

Stephen has produced a series of specially commissioned photographic images of Christchurch, designed to highlight The George's prime position in the heart of New Zealand's beautiful Garden City.

He has recorded The George with his lens since 2004, and is responsible for the hotel's latest imagery in brochures and our website.

Hotel Art & Urban Art Tour Experience           Australian artist Adnate's stunning 2015 mural produced for OiYOU!'s Spectrum festival.

In addition to your private hotel art tour - experience the vibrant urban art scene with your guide from Watch This Space. 

It may be surprising that Christchurch, a city celebrated for its neo-gothic architecture, picturesque gardens and English colonial roots, has become a noted street art destination, included in Lonely Planet’s global guide as one of the top 42 street art cities in the world. Christchurch’s urban art story is a unique one, tied to the landscape and needs of the city’s post-earthquake recovery, ensuring a layered connection to place and the experiences of the last decade.

Cost $80 per person (minimum of 2 people per tour and a minimum of 24 hours notice is required) 

Book through our Concierge team. 

What our patrons say

From the moment I stepped into The George Hotel, to having left, the experience was one of great customer service and outstanding moments that made it memorable. Would stay again!

From the moment you walk through the front doorway of The George hotel, it feels like coming home. Familiar faces with smiles and enthusiastic welcomes and a feeling that, although you want to rush up to your beautiful room, the idea of staying in the bar lounge area for a beverage and a snack is so inviting also. This is a little haven of peace and luxury only such a short distance from the city energy that Christchurch has in spades. I am torn - I want to tell everyone how amazing The George hotel is - but a part of me wants to keep it to myself! Either way, when I am fortunate enough to visit again, it will feel cozy and luxurious because that's what they do so well. See you again soon!

I love staying at The George, there is an old fashioned and much missed intimate pride to everything the staff do. Your stay feels important to everyone. The rooms are well appointed, the location is excellent and the restaurant serves excellent food. As someone who travels extensively for business there is something entirely comforting knowing I'm heading to stay at The George.

I stayed at the George recently and was impressed with the impeccable service given by all staff members. Friendly, polished and professional, they were a credit to the hotel. The evening meal at the Bistro was excellent, and I was surprised to realise that the hotel does a turn down service - complete with chocolate and "George", a little momento teddy bear to take home (which I did,I just couldn't resist!). It's a wonderful hotel, close to the city, yet set in a very green and peaceful part of town. I wouldn't hesitate to stay again, and plan to next time in a personal capacity with my husband. Kohinui 24 March 2022