• Artist

    Gordon Walters

  • Production Date


  • Medium

    oil on canvas

  • Size

    536 x 411 x 52 mm

  • Credit

    Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1993

  • Accession Number


  • Accession Date

    Jun 1993

  • Department

    New Zealand Art

  • Classification


  • Collection


  • Subjects


  • Description

    This abstract is one of a small number of surviving canvasses from a crucial experimental stage in Gordon Walters' development. Dissatisfaction with the New Zealand art scene and desire for exposure to contemporary developments in art took Walters to Europe in 1950, and he returned to Wellington via Australia in 1952. Untitled, 1952, was amongst Walters' first fully-resolved abstract works, following his early interest in surrealism, and features many of the elements of his mature style. These include the use of a bilateral composition, the interpenetration of elements across the composition, an exploration of figure/ground relationships, a reduced palette, the use of flat pictorial space, and the simple organisation of geometric forms. Many of these devices were a response to the early, pre-Op art works of Hungarian painter Victor Vaserely, which he had seen in Paris. Walters explored these and other themes in numerous works, mostly small gouaches, during the early '50s, but he felt them unexhibitable at the time. This was as much to do with his own perfectionism as what he saw as a climate in New Zealand 'downright hostile to abstraction'. Following works like Untitled, Walters began in earnest his exploration of the koru motif, which became his major preoccupation over the next forty years. His late paintings, however, reflect a return to some of the compositional interests of this work, refined by a lifetime of painting. (from The Guide, 2001)

Exhibition history