Sir Mountford Tosswill (Toss) Woollaston
New Zealand, 1910–1998
View from Takaka Hill 1976–78
oil on board, 1210 x 1510 mm
Collection of The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū: purchased by the Bishop Suter Art Gallery Trust Board through the Dorothy Annie Artmore Bequest, with the assistance of the Queen Elizabeth II Art Council of New Zealand in 1978. ACC: 443
Sometimes an artwork affects how you look at a landscape. Once you have seen this painting, it might forever change the way you regard the view from the top of Tākaka Hill looking towards Motueka.
Because the hill is so steep, the field of vision is almost entirely taken up with the ordered crops of Riwaka and Motueka, the blue expanse of Tasman Bay fringed with its muddy estuarine inlets and the Richmond Ranges in the distance. The colours in this painting are Woollaston’s signature palette of tonally balanced ‘Mapua mud’ browns, ochres and purply blues.
Toss Woollaston was one of the pioneers of modern art in New Zealand. He was influenced by his teacher in Dunedin, Robert N. Field, by Paul Cézanne and the Fauves (a group of early twentieth-century artists), and by Flora Scales.