Toss Woollaston

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1910, d.1998


  • c. 1960
  • Watercolour
  • Donated from the Canterbury Public Library Collection, 2001
  • 364 x 489mm
  • 2002/208
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Waiuta is on the West Coast of the South Island, in the hills northeast of Greymouth where Tosswill Woollaston lived for some years. Waiuta was once a goldmining town but was abandoned in 1951 when the ventilation shaft of the mine suddenly caved in. In this work Woollaston has paid little attention to details in the landscape, instead focusing on his response to the environment before him. His expressive style gives a sense of immediacy, movement and energy. Woollaston was born in Taranaki but in 1928 his family moved to Riwaka, in the Nelson area. Woollaston took lessons from local artist Hugh Scott and later studied part-time at the Canterbury College School of Art and in Dunedin. In 1949 Woollaston began his job as a travelling salesman but over his career he received a number of awards that enabled him to spend more time painting and to travel. Woollaston was knighted in 1979. He returned to live in Riwaka and continued painting until his death.