Rudolf Gopas

Lithuania / Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1913, d.1983

The Old Wharf, Kaikoura

  • Purchased, 1985
  • Reproduced with permission
  • Oil on board
  • 915 x 1225mm
  • 85/16
  • 1958
  • View on google maps

Boats and harbours were a constant feature of Rudolf Gopas’s work, perhaps because the coastal landscapes of Kaikoura and Lyttelton Harbour were not unlike the Baltic coast and its fishing fleets, which he had known in his homeland.

Gopas trained in Lithuania where he was influenced by German expressionism, a style that exaggerated and distorted line and colour to create an expressive effect. Gopas’s interest in abstraction is also evident in this work.

Born in Lithuania, from 1945–49 Gopas and his wife, Natasha, lived in a refugee camp in Ehrwald, Austria, before coming to New Zealand. As well as painting, Gopas worked as a photo processor in Dunedin and Christchurch, where he began exhibiting with The Group. From 1959–77 he lectured in painting at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts, where he had a considerable influence on a generation of painters.