Gretchen Albrecht Revised Edition

Between gesture and geometry

Luke Smythe

book cover for Gretchen Albrecht Revised Edition
Title Info Sheet Sample Pages

Hard cover


A glorious survey of the career of one of New Zealand’s best-regarded contemporary artists

Gretchen Albrecht CNZM is one of New Zealand’s most influential painters. Over the course of her long career, her work has continued to surprise and delight, and her paintings feature in many important collections both in New Zealand and overseas. This comprehensive survey of her much-admired work reveals a painter steeped in art history, drawing freely from a range of sources to create vivid, intellectually persuasive and deeply affecting work, and determined to push her work in new directions.

This revised edition includes her practice since 2019 and also interrogates her Illuminations work of the 1970s, which she revisited and re-presented in 2022. With a detailed and rich text by leading art writer Luke Smythe, plus a foreword by art curator Mary Kisler, this magnificent book both interrogates Albrecht’s work and celebrates her accomplishments.

To look inside, click here.


 ‘This is a book of permanent value’ — Martin Edmond, Newsroom

‘It’s a marvellous book, lushly illustrated, and Smythe’s text is lucid and informative ... This is a standout book showcasing the career of a standout artist.’ — Andrew Paul Wood, EyeContact

‘Everyone knows what they think an Albrecht is, usually, a variation on the theme of a hemisphere in two differently coloured halves, or “ovals with bars”. A book such as this allows us not only to see the other paths she has pursued, but also to marvel at the creativity that has managed to find such variety of expression within the confines she has set for herself.’ — Paul Little, North & South

The book is illustrated with 240 images, which by themselves are a visual treat, providing a sense of the evolving nature of the artist's work as it has built, developed and transformed. These illustrations also make one very aware of the artists great sense of colour, which she uses as a means of subtly exploring the boundary between chaos and control. Smythe’s text is clear and perceptive combining aspects of the artists life, the influence on her work and the evolving emotional and intellectual approach of the artist.’ — John Daly-Peoples, National Business Review

‘Smythe writes intelligently and lucidly throughout, but it is in the later chapters that he really comes into his own as an insightful and astute interpreter of Albrecht’s work. ’ — Priscilla Pitts, Art New Zealand

  • CATEGORY: Art, design and architecture
  • ISBN: 9781991016669
  • PUBLISHER: Massey University Press
  • IMPRINT: Massey University Press
  • PUBLISHED: 09/11/2023
  • PAGE EXTENT: 324
  • FORMAT: Hard cover
Profile image for Luke Smythe

Dr Luke Smythe is a lecturer in art history, art theory and curatorship in the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture at Monash University, Melbourne.