Landmark Rita Angus exhibition to open at Te Papa December 18

Te Papa’s summer exhibition Rita Angus: New Zealand Modernist | He Ringatoi Hou o Aotearoa opens to the public on Saturday 18 December and runs until 25 April 2022.

More than 70 works by one of New Zealand’s most iconic 20th-century artists, Rita Angus (1908–1970) will be exhibited at Te Papa, including Rutu, 1951, Cleopatra, 1938, Central Otago, 1953 56/1969, and Cass, 1936.

The exhibition will also feature two significant recent acquisitions. Marjorie Marshall (1938-39/1943) is a remarkable portrait of Angus’s friend and fellow artist Marshall, set against the backdrop of Central Otago mountains. The Aviatrix (1933) is one of Angus’s most important early works – a striking portrait of her sister Edna, the first woman pilot in the East Coast Aero Club, wearing her flying costume.

Te Papa Head of Art Charlotte Davy says Rita Angus: New Zealand Modernist is an exhibition for the whole family to enjoy this summer.

“This exhibition will introduce a new generation of New Zealanders to Rita Angus’ work,” she says. “It is remarkable how much power and relevance her paintings still have today.”

The exhibition will be accompanied by a full catalogue, Rita Angus: New Zealand Modernist, featuring all the works in the exhibition and anchored by two major essays by Angus’ biographer Jill Trevelyan and Chief Curator at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, Dr Adrian Locke.

Te Papa Press also published a new edition of Trevelyan’s award-winning book, Rita Angus: An Artist’s Life in April.

The exhibition will be on display at Te Papa’s Toi Art and entry is free. After Rita Angus: New Zealand Modernist closes at Te Papa, a smaller exhibition will tour a number of regional galleries around the motu (country).


Images and credits

View images to download

  • Rita Angus, Central Otago, 1953-56/1969, oil on canvas. Gift of Douglas Lilburn, 1972. © Reproduced courtesy of the Estate of Rita Angus. Te Papa (1972-0030-1)

  • Rita Angus, Cleopatra, 1938, oil on canvas. Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. © Reproduced courtesy of the Estate of Rita Angus. Te Papa (1998-0028-2)

  • Head of Art Charlotte Davy and Curator Modern Art Lizzie Bisley with Rita Angus’ Marjorie Marshall (1938-39/1943), 2019. © Reproduced courtesy of the Estate of Rita Angus. Photo by Jack Fisher. Te Papa

  • Curator Modern Art Lizzie Bisley, 2019. Photo by Daniel Crichton-Rouse. Te Papa

  • Marti Friedlander, Rita Angus, 1969, gelatin silver print. Te Papa (O.031289)

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Sasha Borissenko, Communications Advisor