M T Woollaston

Figures from Life

Figures from Life by M T Woollaston

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Woollaston held this work in high esteem, and it is rightly considered his first major portrait. It depicts his wife Edith with their friend Rodney Kennedy. He was a long-time supporter whose encouragement secured Woollaston his first solo exhibition in the year this work was executed.

The paint is applied with sketchy, confident brushstrokes using colours that are more concerned with revealing feeling than drawing the colours of flesh. This approach was very radical and had a positive and encouraging effect on Colin McCahon, who, by gifting it to the Gallery in 1954, ensured that it was the first work by Woollaston to enter the collection. (Intimate Portraits, 2005)

Figures from Life
Production date
oil and charcoal
627 x 478 mm
Woollaston (u.l.)
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Colin McCahon, 1954
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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