Robert Field

British / Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1899, d.1987

Sand Dunes, Dunedin

  • Purchased 1970
  • Oil on glass
  • 305 x 385mm
  • 70/26

Robert Field and his colleague William Allen arrived in Dunedin from England as recent graduates from the Royal College of Art to take up a positions at the King Edward Technical College in 1925. They were part of what became known as the La Trobe Scheme, an initiative established by the Department of Education’s superintendent of technical instruction, W.S. la Trobe, to recruit recent English graduates to teach art in New Zealand’s technical colleges. Field was very popular with his students. Toss Woollaston stated, ‘There was no formal teaching with Field. He painted alongside his students, discussing as they went.’ Woollaston also wrote of Field, ‘His pictures, brilliant and heady, were painted with jewel-like, full-sized brush strokes, or with rainbow-like spots and scales of pure paint shimmering on unpainted back-grounds of wood and canvas. Here was wild excitement after what, it now became plain, had been my long drought or earnest mediocrity.’

(March 2018)