Rita Angus: An Artist's Life

Rita Angus: An Artist's Life

4.39 (33 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Expected delivery to the United States in 6-9 business days.

Not ordering to the United States? Click here.


Jill Trevelyan won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009 for this magnificent biography of one of New Zealands leading 20th century artists. Now back in print, this revised edition brings the book up to date with new assessments of Angus and in the context of the big Royal Academy show that opens in London in November 2020. Rita Angus was a pioneer of modern painting during the 1930s and 1940s. More than 100 years after her birth, works such as Rutu (1951), Central Otago (1940), and Portrait of Betty Curnow (19411942) are national icons. While Angus is perhaps New Zealands best-loved painter, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before this acclaimed and revelatory book. Jill Trevelyan traces Anguss life, from her childhood in Napier and Palmerston North to her death in Wellington in 1970. Drawing on a wealth of archives and letters, she brings to life Rita Angus the person: highly articulate and full of zest, intellectually curious and forthright in her attitudes and emotions, powerfully committed to her pacifist and feminist beliefs and dedicated, above all, to life as an artist. Rita Angus: An Artists Life is generously illustrated with more than 150 artworks and private photographs to bring Angus her private struggles and public reputation and her greatest legacy, her art to complex, colourful life.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 448 pages
  • 178 x 230 x 37mm | 1,228g
  • Wellington, New Zealand
  • English
  • 0995133824
  • 9780995133822
  • 676,494

Table of contents

Introduction 7
1. March 1908-January 1927: 'I spent much of my time dreaming and drawing' 13
2. February 1927-June 1930: 'Making use of my newly acquired freedom' 31
3. June 1930-August 1934: 'I was precocious' 49
4. September 1934-July 1938: 'Live in a suitcase' 71
5. August 1938-June 1941: 'Idealistic socialist' 105
6. July 1941-November 1942: 'I wish to serve the arts' 129
7. December 1942-February 1944: 'I shall soon have my world in order' 153
8. March 1944-August 1945: 'I have taken stronger monastic, pacifist vows' 179
9. September 1945-July 1947: 'The second Sun Goddess is born' 203
10. August 1947-October 1949: 'My life of painting will be a more simple one' 223
11.October 1949-December 1952: 'The strain of those years has quite gone' 241
12. January 1953-May 1955: 'N.Z. Has more than enough to offer' 259
13. June 1955-July 1959: 'Some paintings have deeply affected me' 279
14. August 1959-January 1965: 'I find the world satisfying, seeing, knowing & painting' 299
15. February 1965-December 1967: 'Live to paint' 323
16. January 1968-January 1970: 'Drawing tombstones has become quite an event' 343
Epilogue 365
Acknowledgements 379
List of illustrations 382
Notes 386
Bibliography 432
Index 441
show more

Review quote

'Making use of a cache of 400 letters written by the artists and composer Douglas Lilburn as well as the many published writings, books films and personal accounts Trevelyan has made the artist accessible with insights into her professional and personal life which gives us an appreciation of how and why she produced her art.' - NZ Arts Review; '... the first and only bio of Rita Angus, feminist, pacifist, socialist, has been juiced and spruced by Jill Trevelyan ... It's stacked with the works of one of our best-loved painters ...' - NZ Listener.
show more

About Jill Trevelyan

Jill Trevelyan is a Wellington art historian and curator. She is the editor of Toss Woollaston: A Life in Letters (Te Papa Press, 2004) and the co-author of Rita Angus: Live to Paint & Paint to Live (Random House, 2001). Her biography of Peter McLeavey won the book of the year award at the 2014 New Zealand Post Book Awards.
show more

Rating details

33 ratings
4.39 out of 5 stars
5 48% (16)
4 45% (15)
3 3% (1)
2 3% (1)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X