Sydney Lough Thompson

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1877, d.1973

Almond blossom, Grasse

One of New Zealand’s best-known expatriate artists, Sydney Lough Thompson first left New Zealand in 1900 to study in Paris. His visit to the small fishing village of Concarneau in Brittany in 1902 had a profound and lifelong impact on his career. At Concarneau, Thompson found the ideal location to raise a family while developing his artistic practice. For the remainder of his life he divided his time between New Zealand and France, and numerous expatriate artists from New Zealand made the pilgrimage to Concarneau to visit him, including Olivia Spencer Bower, Frances Hodgkins, Maud Sherwood, Archibald Nicoll, Flora Scales, Cora Wilding and Rhona Haszard. Thompson developed an expressive style of painting through the use of thickly applied paint and a brightly coloured palette. He often painted trees in blossom, both in France and in New Zealand, and this work depicts a spring scene from Grasse, on the French Riviera. From 1925 to 1933, Thompson and his wife spent winter and spring there, returning to Concarneau for the summer and autumn.

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