Francis McCracken

Aotearoa New Zealand / Scotland, b.1879, d.1959

Tulip Still Life

  • Purchased 1950
  • Oil on canvas
  • 827 x 625mm
  • 69/97
  • 1931

Francis McCracken often used tulips in his still life paintings, probably because of their bright colours. From his time studying in Edinburgh he was influenced by the Scottish colourists, particularly S.J. Peploe (1871 -1935), who worked with a bright colourful palette. McCracken also studied under the French Cubist artist, André L’Hote (1885 -1962), in Paris and Tulip Still Life shows the influence of Cubism, albeit toned down, with its focus on the angular geometric qualities of objects.

Born in Northern Ireland, McCracken travelled with his family to Australia in the 1890s, then on to New Zealand in 1903. He studied at the Elam School of Art, Auckland, before leaving to serve with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in 1914. After being wounded at the Battle of Ypres McCracken studied at the Royal Scottish Academy Schools in Edinburgh. There he gained a Carnegie Travelling Scholarship to Florence and to Paris. McCracken exhibited at the Royal Academy, London, the Glasgow Institute and Art Societies throughout New Zealand. His last years were spent in Edinburgh.