Posts Tagged ‘Schoon’

Rock on

On my journey South I actually did get to visit another rock art site. I was keen to see the Frenchman’s Gully Birdmen. I have to report they were startlingly similar to the Sanitarium glasses. The site is easy to find and has good access so I am pleased they remain in good repair (apart from the chalk and crayon). I thinkthese figures were enhanced/ruined by the Olliver party rather than Schoon. You can see from my photo below, there have been more recent additions as well.


At a guess I’d say there are a lot more drawings around this area but time and small children prevented me from exploring further.

Today I also added to my collection of rock art memorabilia* (see below). Say what you like about the general tackiness but I think its a step up from chipping the drawings off and having them in a museum. Actually if a drawing was in imminent danger of  being destroyed by the elements maybe that would be an acceptable course of action?


*No I don’t intend to wear it

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We tomorrow the packers/movers come so service here may intermittent for the next while. I have finished organising (I think) and now my evil plans need to fall into place.

One thing we will be doing on our journey South is further exploration of Southern Rock Art sites. Every trip to the South we try and take in one site and this time we’ve picked Frenchman’s Gully because of ease of access (I hope). I had wanted to see Weka Pass but its a bit of a trek with the kids. Any how I am hoping to see the bird men in person rather than on my old Sanitarium glasses.


Looking at that I wonder if there is any peanut butter jar influence on Bill Hammond.

So I’ve got out my reference books and the McDougall Art Gallery publication on the Theo Schoon Interpretations. If any one has other suggestions of easily accessible sites not far from State Highway One – please comment.

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One of the things I was looking into when I started writing this blog was artists houses and the little artistic cluster at Waikanae which is virtually on my doorstep. Walters, Schoon, Hodgkins, Angus, Page, Clairmont and now I discover Richmond all made significant work there.

Any way a while back I write that I’d located the Angus home and had taken this photo. I must now admit to a “mollie moment”. From Martin Edmond’s Luca Antara blogI got as far as page 8 before the first shock of embarrassment and shame. It was this passagealmost every ‘fact’ in the last two of those four sentences is wrong.”  Since writing the book he refers to, the full story of Mollie, the elephant that died at Ohakune had come to light. 

Yesterday I spent some time with the local council historian, Ron Prockter* who furnished me with lots of information regarding the Angus home. The great news is, that although subdivided, the gardens are largely intact and it appears the home may be too , although greatly altered. The embarrassing news was the address I had previously was completely wrong and so the photo referred to above, although vaguely interesting, has no artistic association at all. 

Rita Angus (c1942) by Theo Schoon (photo from Art New Zealand Issue 107)

Angus had the use of a beach house at Waikanae owned by her father who moved there in 1943. Schoon appears to have visited her there at least once with Gordon Walters who was his protege.” Michael Dunn – Art NZ Issue 107

Why am I so interested in this anyway? Well I like Angus’s garden paintings, as to me they have a different ‘feel’ about them. And although the Angus cottage is saved for posterity in Thorndon, I was intrigued by this little local mystery. Mr Prockter also told me that this land has a long and interesting history being a large part of the ‘Rau o te Rangi’ block named after a maori woman Te Rauoterangi, the daughter of a Ngati Toa chief. Te Rauoterangi also was known as Kahe, the name she used to sign the Treaty of Waitangi.

Now that we are definitely off South in a few months, its nice to have this story complete and I am continuing my hunt for the Page home (designed by Plischke).

*Over the Net and their “On the Road” series may be interested to know that Mr Prockter is in charge of street name approval here and there is a Hodgkins Road and Goldie Place at Waikanae.

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Such a perfect day

Well – nearly perfect. Lets say that when you live in the desert a visit to the Oasis means you need to fill up to get you to the next Oasis. Feast or famine etc etc and today was a feast

Managed to get to the Reboot exhibition for the collectors talk (report to follow tomorrow). A revelation really and definitely some “ah ha” moments for me. Oddly no one asked questions. I had about a million questions but where do you start in that setting? I did discover an artwork that sums me up completely (just now) Happy for it to be my epitaph even. Ronnie van Hout’s “Sorry I am out of Order”. I think I HAVE to get this T-shirt.

And yes I did bump into some people – rather unexpectedly. And in answer to “whats with the calling cards?”. Well they were free (if you are happy to put up with some spam) and shoving them at people by way of introduction is a great help to socially inept people like me.

Managed to rush over to the Theo Schoon “archival exhibit” at Te Papa as well. I was very disappointed and wish I’d gone to the Helen Hitchings thing instead. I wanted to see some of his rock art work and they just had the gourds, jade, ceramics and Thai stuff on display. I mean I did like what I saw (some amazing photographs) just not what I was wanting to see. Also a pity they didn’t have some of his decorated gourds – just the photos.

And home to a cooked meal – an absolute rarity for me not to have to do the cooking.

Also last night watched “Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon“. It didn’t get such great reviews but I thought it was good. Very clever how some scenes were staged like Bacon’s paintings – although some see this as a weakness.

Off to listen to Lou now.

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