Rita Angus

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1908, d.1970

Riverbed, Waiau

  • Purchased with assistance from the Olive Stirrat bequest, 1990
  • Reproduced courtesy of the Estate of Rita Angus
  • Watercolour on paper
  • 275 x 356mm
  • 90/22
  • 1932
  • View on google maps

The high viewpoint in this work provides a sweeping view of the Waiau riverbed and the Southern Alps beyond. During the 1930s Rita Angus painted many Canterbury backcountry landscapes such as this.

She used a distinctive style of realism in her drawings and paintings with well defined shapes, blocks of strong colour and a clear, pervading light. She painted this work in a deliberate and precise way, with the details simplified and each area of the composition given equal emphasis.

Angus was born in Hastings. She studied at the Canterbury College School of Art and then worked as an illustrator for the Christchurch Press Junior. By 1955 she had settled in Wellington. In 1958 Angus was awarded an Association of New Zealand Art Societies Fellowship, which allowed her to travel to England and Europe. There she studied old masters as well as contemporary art. She died in Wellington.