Toss Woollaston

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1910, d.1998

The Pond

  • 1961
  • Watercolour
  • Donated from the Canterbury Public Library Collection, 2001
  • 275 x 370mm
  • 2002/205

For the exhibition 'Nature's Own Voice' 6 February - August 2009 this work was displayed with the following label:

Toss Woollaston was a major figure in New Zealand art during the twentieth century. Both The Pond and Westland Landscape were originally completed in Woollaston’s sketchbooks, the pages having since been removed and framed for display. Woollaston’s direct approach to sketching and painting outdoors is clearly evident in these works where he has employed very wet, fluid washes of colour directly with little sign of hesitation.

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • Toss Woollaston enjoyed painting with watercolours outdoors directly before his landscape subjects, as can be seen in this work. Using very wet washes of colour, his response to the landscape was immediate and spontaneous, imbuing his works with a strong sense of energy.

    Woollaston was one of the pioneers of modern art in New Zealand. His highly individual form of expressionist landscape painting was indirectly influenced by the theories of the German painter Hans Hoffman (1880-1966).

    Woollaston was born in Taranaki, and moved with his family to Riwaka, in the Nelson area, in 1928. He studied part-time at the Canterbury College School of Art and in Dunedin. In 1949 he began working as a travelling salesman, but as his career progressed he received a number of awards that enabled him to spend more time painting and travelling. In 1979 Woollaston was knighted for his services to the arts over many decades.

    (Label date unknown)