Max Gimblett the first NZ artist to have work in Getty Museum

He may live on the other side of the world, but New Zealand artist Max Gimblett is still representing home - now at one of America's most prestigious museums.

The 86-year-old is sending hundreds of his artists sketch books, created since he was a child, to the Getty Museum.

"Museums are a fantastic thing," Gimblett said.

"The way I learnt to paint was to go to museums and look at paintings."

He's the first Kiwi artist to have his work held by the Getty. Its Research Institute Collection is acquiring 250 sketch books, including one Gimblett made as a seven-year-old growing up in the Auckland suburb of Grafton.

"New Zealand has supported me," he said.

"My career is not as the result of America, it's as a result of New Zealand."

Gimblett, a Zen monk and Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, has spent the last 50 years in New York - the last two years almost exclusively inside his Broadway apartment, as the Covid pandemic raged through America.

But none of that has slowed him down.

"No, not at all," he said.

"Speeding up, I'm painting like a genius. I mean, there's nothing going wrong, everything's going right."

Gimblett is still creating more books for the Getty collection, and is planning a new exhibition this year as well.