Trevor Moffitt

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1936, d.2006

Sans Everything

  • 1981
  • Oil on board
  • Presented by Mr J Summers with assistance from ‘Everyman Fund’, 1982
  • 610 x 610mm
  • 82/62

Trevor Moffitt could always be relied upon to find the profound within the ordinary. This work is from a series of 139 paintings in which he charted his father’s life. Deeply personal, it also reflects universal experiences – the complex relationship between a parent and child, the fear of growing old and the inevitable cycle of loss and grief. Here, physical decline is accompanied by the loss of independence. Moffitt shows us what William Shakespeare described as “the last scene of all” in a human life: “Sans [without] teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”

(Absence, May 2023)

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • This painting is from a series of 139 works in which Trevor Moffitt charted his father’s life. Simultaneously mundane and profound, they are deeply personal, but also reflect universal experiences – the complex relationship of a man with his father, the cycle of loss and grief, and the fear of growing old and losing independence.

    Moffitt’s work was often biographical and he has been described as a ‘painter of vignettes’. His style is spare, figurative and expressive. He was one of New Zealand’s most respected regional artists whose concern had always been the places and human conditions that are unique to this country.

    Born in Gore, Moffitt grew up in the gold mining township of Waikaia, in Southland. He went to Southland Technical College, then in the 1950s attended the University of Canterbury School of Fine Art, despite his father’s opposition. Moffitt lived in Christchurch and, as well as teaching art, exhibited extensively.

    (Date unknown)