Louise Henderson

Bridge construction 2

Bridge construction 2 by Louise Henderson

Artwork Detail

Bridge Construction 2 reflects Louise Henderson's interest in architecture and move towards more abstract ways of conceiving form and space. Compared with Colin McCahon's large cubist-inspired 'On Building Bridges', 1952, Henderson's painting appears more ambiguous as she isolates a point of connection and excludes any sense of the surrounding space. Throughout the 1950s, she increasingly looked to the built environment in paintings of cities and towns in Europe and the Middle East, and her interest in architecture coincided with her transition from an analysis of forms in space to a more extreme flattening informed by the post-cubist styles of Mondrian, Abstraction-Création painting and Purism.

Unlike Gordon Walters and Milan Mrkusich, who bypassed Cubism and leapt straight to a more extreme form of abstract painting, Henderson’s practice was still based in observable reality. She is arguably New Zealand's foremost cubist painter. Attracted to the intellectual spirit of Cubism and to its relationship with history, Henderson applied new ways of seeing and picturing form and space to the female figure, architecture and domestic objects. Her cubist paintings were a hybrid of tradition and innovation, and the refined qualities of her work and interest in foreign and classical subjects, the female figure, still life and architecture, distinguished her practice from that of other New Zealand artists also applying a cubist aesthetic to distinctly local subject matter and the landscape. Before training in Paris, Cubism’s influence was diffuse in Henderson’s work; she incorporated a range of techniques derived from her work in embroidery and from ideas gleaned from John Weeks. Returning to Europe in 1952, where she studied with ‘original’ cubist Jean Metzinger (1883–1956), Henderson’s practice started to include a technical and complex construction of form.

Bridge construction 2
Louise Henderson
Production date
circa 1963
oil on hardboard
1232 x 927 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Diane McKegg, 2017
Accession no
Other ID
L1967/1 Old Accession Number
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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