new zealand art
Rita Angus (New Zealand 1908-1970), Timmy, watercolor, 1952. Rita’s close friend Timmy was married Rita’s brother Douglas. In 1952, Rita announced she would paint Timmy’s portrait, days after Timmy’s mother had died. Timmy protested but “You couldn’t argue with Rita. Once she made up her mind about something, that was that.” Timmy sat for her portrait for two weeks, preoccupied with the loss of her mother. Later she fel her sister-in-law had captured her grief in this sensitive work. Pvt coll.
Rita Angus (New Zealand 1908 - 1970), Portrait of Jean Angus, o/c, 1937. Angus's sister Jean was seven years younger than Rita. The two siblings were close, although Jean was less assertive than Rita and complained about her sister's bossiness. Rita found Jean an attractive subject with her fine features and bobbed hair. She painted this portrait of her sister by firelight, taking an experimental approach in her use of strong colours and abstract patterns. Private collection.
Rita Angus (New Zealand 1908 - 1970), Lawrence Baigent, o/c, 1938-39/1943. Angus and Lawrence had much in common but importantly, both were pacifists. Angus painted this portrait in the late 1930s, adding the elephant in 1943, while looking for new symbols to express her pacifist beliefs. The elephant is one of the motifs from the Ajanta caves of India. Collection Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, NZ.
Rita Angus (New Zealand 1908-1970), Joyce Milligan, watercolor, 1941. Joyce Milligan and her husband, Roy, were well-known Christchurch pacifists. They were close friends and supporters of Rita Angus and bought many of her paintings. Angus painted Joyce Milligan surrounded by her much-loved pets – a cat, a parrot, and a pair of terriers. The monkey was a private joke between Angus and the Milligans – it symbolizes Joyce’s husband. Private collection.