Famous New Zealanders

Colin McCahon

  • Born 1 August 1919 in Timaru, although his family lived in Dunedin.
  • Was interested in art from an early age.
  • Took art classes with Russell Clark in Dunedin, and was strongly influenced by an exhibition by Toss Woollaston in 1936.
  • Studied at Dunedin School of Art from 1937-1939, but was mostly self-taught.
  • Married the artist Anne Hamblett in 1941, and moved to Christchurch. Became a member of The Group, a Christchurch group of artists, and showed his work regularly in their exhibitions.
  • Spent time in Nelson, then moved to Auckland to an appointment as Keeper at the Auckland City Art Gallery in 1953.
  • Painted a number of religious works that placed events from Christ's life in a New Zealand setting. Was the first New Zealand artist to use words and numbers as part of his art.
  • Visited the United States in 1958, and used that experience to introduce new ideas to his work.
  • Became Lecturer at the University of Auckland School of Fine Arts 1964-1970.
  • Regarded as the most important modern artist New Zealand has produced, particularly in his landscape work.
  • Died 27 May1987, in Auckland.

Works include

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