Tidal Stream I

Irvine Major
New Zealand, 1922–2000
Tidal Stream I 1982
oil on canvas, 760 x 623 mm
Collection of The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū: purchased in 1982. ACC: 633

Irvine Major created many artworks inspired by the coastline from Tōtaranui to Stephens Bay near Kaiteriteri, where the artist’s family had a bach. For a period, Major owned a bilge keeler called Seabird that he moored in Dummy Bay for the summer, and which was ideal for sailing up the coast and stopping at the golden sandy beaches.

In this semi-abstracted scene, Major has reduced the colour palette and areas of sand, stream, rocks and bush to their fundamental shades and forms. Although originally based on a specific location, this painting captures the essence of many a spot in the Abel Tasman National Park.

Irvine Major

Artist and printmaker Irvine Major (1922-2000) was born in Christchurch and served in the Middle East and Italy during the Second World War. From 1949 he lived in Nelson where he was an active member of the Suter Art Society, exhibiting regularly and holding various offices. As the art master at Nelson College he counted Laurence Aberhart and Philip Clairmont among his pupils.

He was awarded a merit prize in the Kelliher Art competition in 1958.

Major combined a fine art practice with commercial commissions – excelling at both.

Installation Details

15 Bridge Street
(Nelson Mail)


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.