Kees Bruin

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1954

Elizabeth & goldfinch

  • Purchased, 1994
  • Reproduced courtesy of Kees Bruin
  • Oil on canvas
  • 500 x 400mm
  • 94/16
  • 1994

The subject of this poignant work is Bruin’s fiancée, Elizabeth, who died of cancer. Working from a photograph taken when she was ill, Bruin shows her accompanied by a small goldfinch, a traditional symbol for the flight of the soul from the body and also a comforting allusion to Christ. The style of the painting is Super-Realism, in which the painted images resemble the sharp focus and blemishless surfaces of the coloured photograph. It recalls 17th century Dutch still life painting and the Realism of 20th century American photo realists.

Bruin was born in Roxburgh. He graduated from the University of Canterbury with Honours in Painting in 1977, the same year he won the New Zealand Royal Commonwealth Overseas League Art Award. Bruin has participated in individual and group exhibitions throughout New Zealand since 1978 and his work is held in private collections throughout New Zealand, Australia, England, the Netherlands, Italy and the United States of America.