Theo Schoon (1915-85), Indonesia/New Zealand
Untitled (koru panel), about 1957, tempera on cardboard. Purchased 1993 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds
An individual interpretation
Born in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), Theo Schoon came to New Zealand in 1939. He had acquired a firsthand knowledge of modern European art in the 1930s and was unimpressed with much of the local art scene. Paintings by artists like Gordon Walters and Rita Angus were among the exceptions.
What truly stood out for Schoon, though, was Māori art. In this painting he has created his own interpretation of Māori kōwhaiwhai patterns (designs painted on rafters in meeting houses), influenced by his background in modern art.
Photographer, painter, printmaker, carver, potter, and jeweller - Schoon was a versatile artist who worked in many different styles and forms.