Rita Angus

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1908, d.1970

Untitled (Garden at Waikanae)

  • Lawrence Baigent / Robert Erwin bequest, 2003
  • Reproduced courtesy of the Estate of Rita Angus
  • Watercolour
  • 580 x 480 x 30mm
  • 2003/65
  • 1957
  • View on google maps

One of New Zealand’s most talented watercolourists, Rita Angus was introduced to plein-air painting in the late 1920s by her tutor at the Canterbury College School of Art, Cecil Kelly. Kelly encouraged students to paint outdoors to capture and record directly the variety of atmospheric effects and lighting conditions. Angus continued to paint plein-air watercolours throughout her life and this work, painted in 1957, depicts the easel of her close friend and fellow artist, Evelyn Page, set up in Page’s garden at Waikanae.

(Turn, Turn, Turn: A Year in Art, 27 July 2019 – 8 March 2020)

earlier labels about this work
  • Nature's Own Voice, 6 February - 26 July 2009

    One of New Zealand’s most talented watercolourists, Rita Angus was introduced to plein-air painting in the late 1920s by her tutor at the Canterbury College School of Art, Cecil Kelly. Kelly encouraged students to paint outdoors to capture and record directly the variety of atmospheric effects and lighting conditions. Angus continued to paint plein-air watercolours throughout her life and this work, painted in 1957, depicts the easel of her close friend and fellow artist, Evelyn Page, set upin Page’s garden at Waikanae.

  • Rita Angus regularly stayed at her parents' property in Waikanae throughout the 1940s and 1950s. Located on the west coast north of Wellington, the area offered the artist a retreat from city life. Fellow artist Evelyn Page, one of Angus's close friends, also lived in Waikanae. This scene shows Page's easel set up in her garden. Angus was undoubtedly one of the most talented New Zealand watercolourists of her generation, successfully employing her delicate touch with landscapes, as well as flower studies, still-lifes and portraits. Born in Hastings, Angus studied at the Canterbury College School of Art from 1927 to 1933. In 1930 she married Canterbury artist Alfred Cook and, although they separated in 1934, she continued to sign herself 'Rita Cook' until 1941. She lived and worked in Christchurch until she moved to Wellington in 1955. An Association of New Zealand Art Societies Fellowship awarded in 1958 allowed her to visit England and Europe.