Gretchen Albrecht

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1943


  • 1982
  • Lithograph
  • Purchased 1982
  • 82/66

Gretchen Albrecht’s Response was made at a moment in her career when a new direction had just begun, following an influential encounter with Piero della Francesca’s Madonna del Parto (c. 1460) in a chapel at Monterchi, Italy. From 1981, she began a series of contemplative compositions – mostly paintings – based on the half circle, echoing the Virgin’s swelling pregnant form and the characteristic curve of Romanesque architecture. The use of intense and expressive colour within the divided form became part of an ongoing exploration.

(Perilous: Unheard Stories from the Collection, 6 August 2022- )

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • The hemispherical arc of Response is formed by two quadrants of a circle butted together and is suggestive of space in which feeling is contained. Gretchen Albrecht’s sophisticated manipulation of colour and form has created an intense image with an almost physical energy. The technique of lithography has allowed her to explore layers of translucent colour and threedimensional depth. Response is an early example of the direction Albrecht pursued on her return from America in the 1970s after seeing the work of Henri Matisse (1869 -1954) and Mark Rothko (1903 -1970). One of New Zealand’s leading contemporary abstractionists, Albrecht was born in Auckland and went to Auckland University’s School of Fine Arts. In 1981 she held the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship at the University of Otago. She has been awarded many grants over the course of her career and has travelled extensively in the United States and Europe. She has also exhibited widely nationally and internationally. (Label date unknown)