Artwork Details


artifact, gourd, marks, natural, object

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Incised Gourd

ArtistTheo Schoon
Production Datecirca 1955-1965
Mediumengraved gourd with blackening (Kiwi shoe polish)
Size300 x 210 x 200 mm
DepartmentNew Zealand Art
Subjectsgourd, patterning
Accession DateSep 1995
Accession NoC1995/1/14.1-2
Credit LineChartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 1995

Chartwell Notes

Theo Schoon’s diverse body of work reflects interest in the indigenous forms of Maori and Indonesian art. Schoon studied Maori art, culture, and traditions, as well as New Zealand’s unique landscape, not as a tourist, but with a keen and knowledgeable observing eye along with a committed passion to learn the traditional methods utilised by Maori artists. This included incised gourds (hue), one of which was acquired by the Chartwell Collection in September 1995 (Incised Gourd, c.1955-1965.)

Schoon’s painting Maori Pattern from 1962, acquired by the Chartwell Collection in June 1994, reflects the artist’s interest in Maori design, but also acknowledges the use of similar shapes in design structures across many cultures internationally. The all-over design, reminiscent of   fabric patterning, reflects Schoon’s interest in and use of indigenous signs and marks. His use of colour is restrained, emphasising the dominant pattern. Furthermore, the design in this painting is cropped, which may be an influence of Schoon’s interest in photography, and the inherent character of the camera to crop photographs. The modernist elements of Maori Pattern establish this work as an inspiring addition to the Chartwell Collection, and is a strong example of Schoon’s painterly practice.

Schoon’s practice was of great interest to Gordon Walters and other New Zealand artists including Colin McCahon; Schoon recognised the importance of Maori art to the contemporary New Zealand culture, making his artworks an integral component in the development of New Zealand’s modern artistic practices. Schoon’s interest in indigenous forms, such as Maori cave drawings, were design driven but powerfully acknowledged the history and importance of these early artworks. Interesting parallels can be drawn with the Australian artist Ian Fairweather, who had similar experiences of living, working, and making connections between Australasian and Asian art practices. Schoon’s prolific output of work, negotiating the influences of indigenous art forms across painting, drawing, gourd carving, and photography, is reflected in the number of his works represented in the Chartwell Collection. (RW, 2014)


Exhibition History

Whangarei Art Museum
Te Hue - Artifact and Artwork
19 May - 6 September 2006

Gus Fisher Gallery
The New Vision Gallery: 1965 - 1976
11 June - 16 September 2008