Explore The Painting ‘Marjorie Marshall’ By Rita Angus

‘Marjorie Marshall’, oil on canvas adhered to plywood, 1938/1943

Marjorie Marshall (1938/1943) by Rita AngusTe Papa

This is a portrait of Rita Angus’ friend Marjorie Marshall

Angus and Marshall met as art students in Christchurch. This work was painted after Angus visited Marshall in Central Otago, near Lake Wānaka. 

Marjorie Marshall (1938/1943) by Rita AngusTe Papa

Central Otago was a revelation to Angus

The two women spent days sketching the mountainous landscape.

Angus has painted the landscape as simple, crisp forms

Gently rolling hills sit on the edge of a tranquil lake. Stark winter trees stretch up in front of them.

The jagged peaks of Kā Tiriti o te Moana, the Southern Alps reach towards the sky.

Bright slabs of colour evoke the drama of the landscape, and confident strokes of paint outline its contours.

Marshall stands startlingly close to us.

Angus had been looking at early Renaissance portraits, where people are often shown with a landscape rising behind them. 

She gazes off to the side,

brown curls framing her thoughtful expression.

The fringes on Marshall’s yellow scarf stick straight out – as if a cold wind is blowing through the valley.

Angus started the portrait in 1938

She often worked on her paintings over long periods of time, and went back to this portrait in 1943.

This was when she repainted Marshall’s top in glowing orange.

‘Marjorie Marshall’ combines portraiture and landscape

These were the two main strands of Rita Angus’ artistic practice.

Marjorie Marshall, Rita Angus, 1938/1943, From the collection of: Te Papa
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Credits: Story

Text by Te Papa curators Lizzie Bisley and Hanahiva Rose, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2022.
All images reproduced courtesy of the Estate of Rita Angus. 

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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