(1908 – 1970), New Zealand

Rita Angus Biography

In 2006, Cass (1936) by Rita Angus, was voted New Zealand’s most loved painting in a national television poll. The solitary figure, rural setting and hard-edged light exemplified New Zealand regionalist painting during the 1930s, revealing the influences of Canadian Regionalism, Post-Impressionism and Japanese printmaking.

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Rita Angus attended the Canterbury College School of Art, in Christchurch, New Zealand from 1927 to 1933. Like many of her contemporaries during the 1930s and early 1940s her work reflected a search for national identity through a re-consideration of the New Zealand landscape. This was part of an international movement in art at that time that found it's most well known exponents in North America. Angus was a pacifist with philosophical and political empathies that anticipated the Feminist movement and prevalent ideologies of the 1970s. After the 1940s her work became more stylistically diverse and symbolic subject matter became evident. She was also noted for her striking portraits of which Portrait of Betty Curnow is probably the best known.

In 1983 a retrospective exhibition established her reputation as one of New Zealand's most important artists and this was further consolidated by an exhibition curated by the Museum of New Zealand - Te Papa Tongarewa in 2009. Works are held in the collections of the Auckland Art Gallery, the Museum of New Zealand - Te Papa Tongarewa the Christchurch Art Gallery and other significant collections both public and private. Her work is also keenly sought after in the New Zealand art market.

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