Elva Bett

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Elva Bett

Artist, author, teacher, art gallery owner and dealer, Elva Bett was an empowering force for New Zealand art and artists. 

A gallery director in the 1960s and 70s, Bett exhibited the work of emerging artists such as Tony Fomison, Philip Clairmont and Doreen Blumhardt. She challenged the public to see art as a living substance from the inner being of the artist – not as agreeable pictures on living room walls. A practising artist herself, Bett retired from running her dealer gallery in 1980 and turned her attention to writing, she believed that “while not everyone can learn to be a capital A artist, we can all learn to draw” and to that end she published Drawing and Painting: a complete study course for New Zealanders (1984).

In this excerpt from a 1984 Kaleidoscope interview, Bett discusses her new book and the work that went into its creation.

Find out more – Listen to a RNZ Arts on Sunday interview with Bett. 

Read more about Bett on the Art New Zealand website.

Image: Screengrab, Elva Bett, Kaleidoscope, 1984.

Catalogue Reference TZP7876

Year 1984


Producer: Jillian Ewart
Reporter: John Drawbridge

Excerpt: 00:03:25

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