Colin McCahon (1919–1987) was New Zealand’s greatest twentieth-century artist. Through landscapes, biblical paintings and abstraction, the introduction of words and Māori motifs, McCahon’s work came to define a distinctly New Zealand modernist idiom. Collected and exhibited extensively in Australasia and Europe, McCahon’s work has not been assessed as a whole for thirty-five years.
In this richly illustrated two-volume work, written in an accessible style and published to coincide with the centenary of Colin McCahon’s birth, leading McCahon scholar, writer and curator Peter Simpson chronicles the evolution of McCahon’s work over the artist’s entire forty-five-year career.
Simpson has enjoyed unprecedented access to McCahon’s extensive correspondence with friends, family, dealers, patrons and others. This material enables us to begin to understand McCahon’s work as the artist himself conceived it. Each volume includes over three hundred illustrations in colour, with a generous selection of reproductions of McCahon’s work (many never previously published), plus photographs, catalogue covers, facsimiles and other illustrative material.
Along with Colin McCahon: Is this the Promised Land? Vol.2 1960-1987 (published later this year), this will be the definitive work on New Zealand’s leading artist for many years to come.