Kiln near Riwaka

Sir Mountford Tosswill (Toss) Woollaston 
New Zealand, 1910–1998
Kiln near Riwaka 1971
watercolour on paper, 268 x 348 mm
Collection of The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū: gifted by the artist in 1979. ACC: 528

Toss Woollaston first came to the Nelson region as a teenager, looking for rural work. After studying in Christchurch and Dunedin, and spending some time in Greymouth, he settled in Riwaka, where he built a house and studio. He is one of New Zealand’s most important painters of the twentieth century. 

Woollaston painted the landscapes he knew and the people around him over and over again, explaining his style as one where he wanted ‘to reach at one stroke the essence of the feeling I had for the landscape’.  

In Kiln near Riwaka, his expressionistic style has captured the shapes and colours of the farm sheds and hop kiln, against a backdrop of the steep-sided Tākaka hills – a rural landscape that was very familiar to him.

This actual scene can be glimpsed from State Highway 60 before the turnoff to Kaiteriteri and Tākaka Hill.

ArtWalk features three works by Toss Woollaston – From Spooners Range, Kiln Near Riwaka, and View from Takaka Hill.

Toss Woollaston

There’s a wonderful anecdote here, of Woollaston speaking at an 1985 opening event of an exhibition of his work.

The Group

The Group was an informal but influential art association formed in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1927. Initially begun by ex-students from Canterbury College of Art, its aim was to provide a freer, more experimental alternative to the academic salon painting exhibitions of the Canterbury Society of Arts. The Group exhibited annually for 50 years, from 1927 to 1977, and it was continuously at the forefront of New Zealand art’s avant-garde scene.

Many of the country’s best-known artists were associated at some time with The Group. Among these are Colin McCahon, Doris Lusk, Toss Woollaston, Rita Angus, Leo Bensemann, Philip Trusttum, and Douglas MacDiarmid. The influence of The Group was such that it is occasionally referred to as ‘Bloomsbury South’.

Installation Details

227 Hardy Street
(next to Harcourts Real Estate)


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.