At the Slip

Irvine Major
New Zealand, 1922–2000
At the Slip 1991
watercolour on paper, 280 x 378 mm
Collection of The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū: gifted by Margaret Major in 2002. ACC: 919

Nelson’s port and marina provided Irvine Major with a wealth of interesting subject matter – in this painting it is a variety of colourful vessels on the slipway.

The challenge of working outdoors was having to work fast and be spontaneous. Each painting in Major’s harbour series was done in less than three hours in a morning, so the sun didn’t dry out the paint too quickly.

With Port Nelson operating the largest fishing port in Australasia, it’s hardly surprising that several of the vessels depicted are fishing boats. Major has emphasised the strong verticals of the cradles in contrast with the curves of the hulls.

Installation Details

168 Trafalgar Street
(Westpac Bank carpark)


Many thanks to the property owner and tenant for being part of ArtWalk.

Nelson City Centre ArtWalk is a joint project by Make/Shift Spaces and The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū.