Hilda Wiseman

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1894, d.1982


  • c. 1928
  • Linocut
  • Gift of William A Sutton, 1983
  • 126 x 154mm
  • 83/68

Like several members of the exclusively male Quoin Club, Hilda Wiseman began her career as a commercial artist working for an advertising agency in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. She also attended the Elam School of Art. Inspired by the prints being produced by Quoin Club members, but only permitted to access the Club as a visitor and not a member, Hilda forged her own path and went on to become one of Aotearoa’s leading printmakers of her generation. Hilda was one of the earliest artists to work with the linocut, producing her first work in 1925. It quickly became a medium she favoured, and she produced several iconic examples of printmaking in this country, including Huias. Among her output was a limited edition book of native birds she began working on in 1942 featuring twenty linocuts hand-printed on handmade paper. While many of the prints were editioned by Hilda, the book was unfortunately never published – most likely due to paper shortages during World War II.

Ink on Paper: Aotearoa New Zealand Printmakers of the Modern Era, 11 February – 28 May 2023

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • The Huia was sacred to Mâori and only chiefs and people of distinction wore its distinctive tail feathers, which feature a broad white band. The head, beak and skinned birds were also worn as adornments. Demand for huias by Mâori and by European collectors in the late 19th century led to the birds’ extinction. The last officially reported sighting was in 1907. Although she did also work in watercolours, Hilda Wiseman was one of New Zealand’s foremost practitioners of the linocut medium. Her work focused on birds, insects, animals and vegetation unique to New Zealand. Born in Australia, Wiseman travelled to New Zealand with her family when she was very young. She trained at Elam School of Art but received private tuition in illuminated address design. Wiseman started producing linoblocks in 1925 and in 1931 established the Selwyn Studio at her home in Auckland. Wiseman also produced bookplates and was a founder member of the Auckland Branch of the New Zealand Ex Libris Society, established in 1930.

    (Label date unknown)