Tot ziens, Luit

It is with sadness that Aratoi reports the death of Luit Bieringa, an incredible stalwart for the professionalism of Aotearoa’s art galleries and museums and a wonderfully generous supporter of Aratoi.

Born in the Netherlands in 1942, Luit was a man of many talents - art historian, gallery director, film maker, writer and educator who was a champion of artists and culture locally and internationally.

He put the Manawatū Art Gallery (now part of Te Manawa) on the map as its Director during the 1970s. Luit championed photography in Aotearoa, elevating it to a national level with the ground-breaking exhibition ‘The Active Eye’.

From 1979-89, he was Director of our National Art Gallery (now part of Te Papa) and later added filmmaking to his credentials; working alongside his wife Jan on many film projects.

His family describes him a lover of art and ideas; a generous friend and proud family man.

Aratoi supporters will remember him as guest speaker for Aratoi’s anniversary exhibition 50/fifty: 50 years of Aratoi in 2019. Luit certainly was generous to Aratoi and has kept strong links with all the staff. From 2011-12, he was Acting Director and oversaw the iconic Wairarapa Moana exhibition. Over the years, Luit and Jan have donated a number of contemporary works to the Aratoi collection. Luit would often visit Aratoi on many trips to his Castlepoint bach. We all shared some fond memories of Luit when we heard the sad news.

Luit was someone you wouldn’t forget. He had a complete no-nonsense approach, and he certainly didn’t suffer fools. Luit was a very generous and giving man - in art and opinion – with a deep love and understanding of the importance and value of public galleries and museums.

Luit will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with Jan and the family.

A farewell to say goodbye to Luit will be held at Prefab in Te Whanganui-a-Tara at 4pm on Monday June 27. 

Image: Luit with Rob McLeod during Rob's exhibition opening at Aratoi last year.