Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artists: A Guide & Handbook

NERLI, Girolamo Pieri Ballati 1863–1926

NERLI, Girolamo Pieri Ballati 1863–1926

Son of an Italian nobleman and the daughter of Thomas Medwin who was associated with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Studied art in Florence at the Accademia di Delle Arti under Antonio Ciseri and Giovanni Muzzioli but apparently influenced by the Macchiaioli movement: awarded a medal at an exhibition in Milan. Arrived Australia c.1885 where he studied in Melbourne page 179 under Loureiro and exhibited with the Australian Art Assoc. Moved to Sydney 1886, joined the Sketch Club and exhibited with the Royal Art Society: said to have influenced Charles Conder. Painted landscapes and portraits. In 1889 arrived in Dunedin accompanying those who were bringing the New South Wales Loan Collection, including nine Nerlis, to the NZ and South Seas Ex Dunedin 1889–90. A. H. O'Keeffe remembers him as rather tall, with black pointed beard, one who “would borrow a fiver, or if he had one you could have it”. Nerli was “a true artist in every sense” and “He was always good for any fun that came along without thought for the morrow”. His movements after 1890 are uncertain but he apparently visited Sydney in 1892 and Samoa, where he painted portraits of Robert Louis Stevenson. In 1893 was back in Dunedin, where he taught privately and strongly influenced Frances Hodgkins and Grace Joel. In 1894, with L. W. Wilson and J. D. Perrett, opened a private art school, the Otago Art Academy; 1895 appointed Teacher of Painting in the official School of Art and Design; 1896 on committee of newly formed Easel Club. Exhibited OAS 1893, 1896 and 1897 but in that year left Dunedin: he visited Wellington and probably Rotorua on his way to Auckland where he exhibited with ASA. Taught there, and painted one of his pupils. Jane Eyre. He married a Nw Zealander, Cecilia Josephine Barron in Christchurch in 1898 and left New Zealand. During 1914–18 war was with Italian embassy in London; said to have become a court painter to the Vatican. Died in Nervi near Genoa. Exhibited: NZ Industrial and Mining Ex Auckland 1898. Work included Centennial Ex Wtn 1940. Represented: major New Zealand galleries, Hocken.