Grace Butler

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1886, d.1962

Evening Glow

  • 1919
  • Oil on canvas
  • Presented by the Canterbury Society of Arts, 1932
  • 1080 x 1330mm
  • 69/159

This immersive and atmospheric painting is thought to be of a paddock Grace Butler’s home on Normans Hill Road, Onehunga. One of the children is Butler’s daughter Margarete, the other is the daughter of friends Alan and Marguerita Mulgan. It is an unapologetically nostalgic work, in which Butler works to conjure the emotional feeling experienced on those special evenings when the sky in apricots and pinks mixes with the golds of a dry summery field and your skin seems to glow from the inside. Luminescing from a low setting sun, light enters this painting as if from behind the viewer, increasing the intimacy of the moment.

(Endless Light, 29 June 2019 – 8 March 2020)

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • This scene, bathed in the fading light of a summer’s evening, is thought to be of the home paddock next to Grace and Guy Butler’s Norman’s Hill Road house. The children are their daughter, Margaret, and one of the two children of their friends Alan and Marguerita Mulgan.

    Evening Glow shows Butler’s interest in the natural effects of light on the landscape. Although she painted pastoral landscapes, she is better known for her paintings of the mountainous region surrounding Arthur’s Pass village, where the couple owned an old roadman’s hut.

    Butler (née Cumming) was born in Invercargill. The family moved to Norsewood and she attended Napier Art School in 1903, becoming a student teacher in 1907. In 1910 Butler moved to Christchurch to attend the Canterbury College School of Art. She began exhibiting at the Canterbury Society of Arts in 1915. As well as regular New Zealand exhibitions, Butler’s work was included in the 1924 ‘British Empire Exhibition’ and the 1951 Festival of Britain.

    (Label date unknown)