Toss Woollaston, Auckland, 1986.  From the series: Artists’ portraits. 1986, Martyn, Adrienne (1950– ), Auckland. Purchased 1988. Te Papa

Toss Woollaston: Family and friends 

Exhibition now closed
26 August 2004 – 1 February 2005
Free entry

Toss Woollaston: Family and Friends

Toss Woollaston: Family and friends looked at Toss Woollaston’s early years, and his key friendships and relationships during that period. This intimate exhibition has been organised to coincide with the October publication by Te Papa Press of Toss Woollaston: A Life in Letters. Toss Woollaston (1910–98) was a leading New Zealand artist, pioneering modern painting during the 1930s and 1940s. New Zealand poet Charles Brasch described him as ‘one of the first to see and paint New Zealand as a New Zealander.’ 

Woollaston was also a prolific letter writer, and published two memoirs. This exhibition presents a selection of his early works (1933–48) from the Te Papa collection, as well as letters and other archive items from the Woollaston Archive, gifted to the Museum by the Toss Woollaston Trust in 2001.

Paintings in the exhibition include Woollaston’s My father (1939), Portrait of Miss Bethell (1938), and Edith (about 1948). Books, poems, and letters associated with Woollaston are also included, as are works by his wife Edith Alexander and his friends Flora Scales and Ursula Bethell.

See the works in Collections Online