Ivy Fife

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1903, d.1976

The Last Tenant

  • 1956
  • Oil on canvas
  • Gift of Gillian Smythe, 2019
  • 755 x 622mm
  • 2019/006

Ivy Fife was strongly drawn to line and structure. Her landscape works often include trains, gates, farm buildings and railway signals, and she painted large shipping crates stacked on train wagons at Lyttelton port. When her old flat in St Elmo Courts – a 1930s high rise that stood not far from here – was being remodelled, she seized the opportunity to record the process. Here, light floods through a space that bristles with exposed wooden framing, creating a composition full of sharp angles and shadows. This chaotic scene is watched over by the artist’s cat; a small reminder of the apartment’s previous life.

(Absence, May 2023)

Exhibition History