Louise Henderson

France / Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1902, d.1994

Addington Workshops

  • Dame Louise Henderson Collection, presented by the McKegg Family, 1999
  • Oil on board
  • 957 x 1176mm
  • 99/67
  • 1930
  • View on google maps

Arriving in Christchurch from Paris in 1925, having recently married a New Zealander, the young Louise Henderson (née Sauze) began teaching embroidery design at the Canterbury College School of Art in the following year. Painting was one way in which she began familiarising herself with a new environment. Befriending local artists, she also began to exhibit her work.

This painting proves Henderson’s innate ability with colour and ongoing interest in structural form. Picturing the vast railway carriage construction workshops in the suburb of Addington in Christchurch, this is one of very few New Zealand modernist paintings dealing with urban industry in this period.

(Above ground, 2015)

earlier labels about this work
  • I See Red, 5 December 2007 - 23 November 2008

    Strong and active, red can draw attention to itself more than any other colour. In Louise Henderson’s lively painting, bright red steel framework adds a dynamic focal point to this study of train carriages under construction.

    Louise Henderson was born in Paris, where her father was secretary to the famous sculptor Auguste Rodin. She married a New Zealander and arrived in Christchurch in 1925, beginning her career in this country by teaching design and embroidery at the Canterbury College School of Art.

  • The Addington railway workshops were first established in Christchurch in 1880 and produced steam trains and passenger cars. The workshops were closed in 1990 but in the 1970s had covered 41 acres and employed over 900 staff. The painting’s clear overall lighting and fairly muted colouring show the influence on Louise Henderson of the new British Modernism of the 1930s, which sought to reflect the new industrial age.

    Born in Paris, Louise Etiennette Sidonie Sauze was the daughter of Daniel Sauze, secretary to Auguste Rodin (1840 -1917) for a time. Henderson studied embroidery, lace design and drawing at the School of Industrial Arts in Paris. She married Hubert Henderson and came to live in Christchurch in 1925. She taught in Christchurch and Wellington until 1950, then moved to Auckland where she took up painting full-time. In 1952 Henderson studied in Paris under the cubist artist Jean Metzinger (1883 -1956). She later taught at Elam School of Art in Auckland and briefly at Darlinghurst School of Art in Sydney. (2004 label)