James Patrick (Pat) Hanly is acknowledged as New Zealand's premier colourist. "Hanly's paintings exhibit vibrancy of colour and a deceptive ease of execution. They convey a sense of joyfulness and spontaneity that belies the introspective side of the artist's nature. Repeatedly challenging the boundaries of his art-making, Hanly has experimented with different media, styles and methods.” (1)
Throughout his long career, “Hanly juggled his need to express his response to matters of social conscience with his gift for creating paintings that convey great joyfulness. The resulting works were, variously, political, reflective of 'the human condition' or observational, particularly of family and friends.”(2)
"To express what he saw [Pat Hanly] developed a special way of working that was part action painting and part tight form. Out of this emerged beautiful paintings of gardens and still life’s where the power streamed from flowers and figure studies that were filled with energy inside severe outlines... Everything that Pat Hanly did had a kind of innocence that came from his sincerity in life and art. He embraced all things and gave other artists courage to be themselves.” (3)
In 1948, prior to Hanly completing his fourth form year at Palmerston North Boys High, his parents withdrew him from school and organised his apprenticeship with Bert Pratt Ltd, in the hope that he would become a hairdresser. With his first wages, Hanly bought a book of Rembrandt's drawings, which his mother quickly removed to ensure that her son was not exposed to any nudes. His mother encouraged him to enroll in night classes at the Palmerston North Technical College, which led to him sitting his art school preliminary examinations in 1951. During his time as a non-diploma student at the Canterbury College School of Art, Hanly won the prestigious Turner prize for landscape. Once finished his studies, the budding artist travelled to Europe, where he attended classes at the Chelsea Art School and gained several notable scholarships, before returning to New Zealand in 1962.
On his return Hanly began painting full time, although he accepted a part time lectureship in drawing at the Auckland University School of Architecture. Hanly won the Manawatu Prize for Contemporary Art in 1966, and in 1963, '64 and '67 his works were included in international exhibitions of New Zealand art. His work is held in many collections, both public and private.
Pat Hanly retired after the Bouquets series of 1994 and died in 2004. In 2012 a large survey book Pat Hanly was published by Ron Sang Publications
1. Elizabeth Caughey, "Pat Hanly," NZ Artists, 2011. Retrieved from http://nz-artists.co.nz/artists/hanly/
2. Elizabeth Caughey and John Gow, Contemporary New Zealand Art 2, David Bateman, 1999.
3. The Arts Foundation (2015). Pat Hanly. Retrieved from https://www.thearts.co.nz/artist_page.php&aid=94&type=bio