Alan Pearson

Aotearoa New Zealand / England, b.1929, d.2019

Portrait of Carl Sydow, 1972

  • 1972
  • Oil on canvas
  • Purchased, 1973
  • 950 x 622mm
  • 73/238

Carl Sydow (1940-1975) was a prominent sculptor active in Christchurch from the mid-1960s to his untimely death in 1975. This portrait was painted for a Canterbury Society of Arts exhibition in 1973 where artists drew in a ballot the name of another artist whose portrait they would paint. Alan Pearson painted Sydow and Sydow made a photo x-ray portrait of Pearson's head. Pearson said that he went into portraiture to see if he "measured up to the historical process of art … (and) the more certain I became, the more Expressionistic I became." Pearson was born in Liverpool but came to New Zealand in 1954. He graduated from the University of Canterbury in 1961 and went on to study at the Royal Academy Schools, London, during 1965 and 1966, following the award of an Arts Council Scholarship. Pearson has painted full-time since 1978, the year in which he won the National Bank Portrait Prize. He is represented in most New Zealand public collections.

Exhibition History