A Place to Paint: Colin McCahon in Auckland


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A Place to Paint: Colin McCahon in Auckland considers McCahon’s long-time relationship with Auckland and the significance of the physical, spiritual and cultural landscape on his painting.

Colin McCahon moved to Auckland from Christchurch in May 1953 to begin work at Auckland City Art Gallery. McCahon’s geographical shift north brought about a change in the focus of his art – from the human figure, and grandeur of southern landscapes, to his more local environment. He purchased a cottage for his family at French Bay, and set about painting the regenerating kauri forest that surrounded his home, and the Manukau Harbour at the end of the road.

For the next three decades, his painting responded to the landscapes around his homes and studios in the Waitakeres, inner-city Auckland and Muriwai. McCahon also created works that became part of Auckland’s built environment – including the artworks commissioned for the Convent Chapel of Our Lady of the Missions at Remuera, which will be shown publicly with other large scale paintings from the 1960s. The 1970s and early 1980s will be represented by major paintings created at the Muriwai studio.

On the occasion of this exhibition, the Gallery has published the e-publication, Working towards Meaning – The Restoration of Colin McCahon’s Chapel Windows.  

Don't miss our concurrent Colin McCahon exhibitions including, From the Archive: Colin McCahon in Auckland and The Wake: A Poem in the Forest,  free to view on Ground level. 

Curated by
Ron Brownson and Julia Waite

Selected artworks