Bill Sutton

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1917, d.2000

Read more about this artist on Wikipedia

Composition No 1

  • 1963
  • Oil on board
  • William A. Sutton bequest, 2000
  • 930 x 1088mm
  • 2000/54

About the artist

Sutton, William Alexander (Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1917, d.2000)

Bill Sutton was one of the great modern painters of the Canterbury landscape, a devotee of its dramatic skies, and of its browned–off ochre hills with their purple shadows and deep green shelter-belts cutting up the plains. ‘I am a romantic, I know I am a romantic, because I am happy to be closely tied in with my own landscape, the environment here I find extremely exciting,’ he admitted in 1974.In the early 1960s, while he was working on the Composition series, Sutton was regularly flying back and forth between Christchurch and Wellington on art business. He studied the familiar landscape from the vantage point of the sky. The ‘big, bulging shapes’, as he described them, began as cloud shadows passing over the Canterbury hills. ‘Before long the patterns began to exist in their own right with no reference to nature,’ he wrote. ‘I stopped the series short of pure abstraction, there was a risk of the works becoming mere decoration.’ While the compositions are Sutton’s most abstract works, they remain deeply embedded in the local landscape. (March 2018)

Exhibition History