A magnificent biography of one of New Zealand’s leading 20th century artists – this revised edition brings the book up to date with new assessments of Angus and in the context of the Rita Angus exhibition held at Te Papa late in 2021.
Winner of the Non Fiction Award at the 2009 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.
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 (1941–1942) are national icons. While Angus is perhaps New Zealand’s best-loved painter, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before this acclaimed and revelatory book.
Jill Trevelyan traces Angus’s 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.
“… 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, April 2018
About the author
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.
Extent: 448 pages