Archibald Nicoll

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1886, d.1953

Twilight Auckland Waterfront

Archibold Nicoll was a progressive young artist when he completed Twilight, Auckland Waterfront in 1909. Small in scale, yet full of energy and verve, it highlights his interest in the immediacy of plein-air painting. He captures the dramatic lighting of a twilight evening with the spontaneity that occurs when painting outdoors directly before the subject. By 1909 the young artist had secured a teaching position at Elam School of Fine Arts in Auckland, where he proved popular with students but not with the director of the school, E.W. Payton, who reported to the board that ‘while his own work is very good, his strong mannerisms make him rather dangerous as a teacher of young students’. Nicoll resigned in 1910 with enough money saved to enable him to travel to Britain where he was able to live and work as an artist. (March 2018)

This painting depicts Railway Wharf, Auckland.