Rita Angus

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1908, d.1970

Untitled [Pot Plant]

  • William A. Sutton Bequest, 2000
  • Reproduced courtesy of the Estate of Rita Angus
  • Watercolour
  • 678 x 576mm
  • 2000/10

Rita Angus painted many still life subjects in watercolour, often focusing on flowers and potted plants. Her interest in simplifying forms into geometric planes shows the influence of the French artist Paul Cézanne, for whom elements of design and composition were paramount. Typically, Angus has handled the washes of colour with great skill, layering them to produce subtle differences in tone. She has incorporated landscape elements of a bay and headland in the background, (probably Wellington Harbour) effectively offsetting the pot plants, giving the composition a real sense of depth. Angus was born in Hastings. In 1927 she began studies at the Canterbury College School of Art until 1933. She then worked as an illustrator for the Christchurch Press Junior. By 1955 she had settled in Wellington and in 1958 was awarded an Association of New Zealand Art Societies Fellowship, which allowed her to travel to England and Europe. There she studied old masters as well as contemporary art. She died in Wellington.