Colin McCahon

A candle in a dark room

A candle in a dark room by Colin McCahon

Artwork Detail

Recent research by Peter Simpson suggests that this painting was painted in 1947, not 1943 as previously thought. McCahon painted it to record his first meeting with the poet James K. Baxter. The revision of the year it was painted suggests that they met later than originally thought or that it may have been painted in retrospect.

Regardless of these chronological details, the painting demonstrates McCahon’s high esteem for Baxter. This regard was reciprocated. The poet wrote to McCahon in November 1947 ‘I think you put onto canvas something I know about N.Z., but have not learned to say. The raw vitality and brutal simplification.’ (McCahon's Visible Mysteries, 2004)

A candle in a dark room
Colin McCahon
Production date
oil on plywood
545 x 464 x 30 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, on loan from a private collection
Accession no
Other ID
cm001669 Catalogue Number
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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