John Oakley

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1901, d.1977

The Courtyard

John Oakley was a sociable, well-connected Ōtautahi Christchurch artist whose Cambridge Terrace studio parties in the early 1930s included such illustrious company as Olivia Spencer Bower, Rita Angus, Louise Henderson, Viola Macmillan Brown, Ngaio Marsh and Russell Clark. Having studied and taught at the Canterbury College School of Art, Oakley left in 1935 to absorb the latest developments in modern art in Britain and Europe. Returning ten months later, he painted The Courtyard while art master at Marlborough Boys’ College in Te Waiharakeke Blenheim. With its distorted perspective and hard-edged, modernist approach, the work reveals this fresh impetus. A note on the back records that this was the view from his bedroom window at the Club Hotel behind the Blenheim Chief Post Office.

(From Here on the Ground, 18 May – 17 November 2024)

Exhibition History