Piecing the Parts Together: the art and life of Anne Hamblett (1915-1993)

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dc.contributor.advisor Tyler, L en
dc.contributor.author Douglas, Jessica en
dc.date.accessioned 2017-05-29T23:32:50Z en
dc.date.issued 2017 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/33163 en
dc.description Full text is available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland only. en
dc.description.abstract This thesis provides an analysis of the art produced by New Zealand modernist artist Anne McCahon (née Hamblett, 1915-1993) during her lifetime. It addresses three key questions which have yet to be answered in the extant (scant) literature on the artist: why did she stop painting soon after her marriage to fellow painter Colin McCahon? What was the nature of her art practice, and how does it relate to the socio-historical context of the time, that is, Dunedin in the 1930s? The proposition that Anne Hamblett made a meaningful contribution to New Zealand’s art history, but that this has gone virtually unrecognised – with a dearth of literature and exhibitions about the subject until very recently – underlies the approach of this thesis. The art historical framework and context this thesis provides for her work will reinscribe her in the historical record, and help to evaluate her contribution. Because of the scope of the topic – Hamblett lived for nearly eighty years – this thesis is divided into six sections: the first will address her paintings of Dunedin and the Otago landscape, the second her printmaking experimentation, the third her collaborative work with Colin McCahon, the fourth her illustrations for children, the fifth her still life works, and the last her pottery. This approach precludes an analysis of every work produced in favour of addressing themes and shifts in media that relate to changes in her approach to art making. Similarly, although the structure is broadly chronological, this is not a biography, and the details of Hamblett’s life after 1950 (with the exception of her pottery output from 1978 to 1981) are sketchy in the record. Instead, the emphasis of the thesis is on her early exhibiting career in Dunedin through to her years at Titirangi from 1953 to 1959, which is the period when her creative output was at its greatest, and, it will be argued, when she made the most public impact with her work. Given that Hamblett was studying and first exhibiting in Dunedin in the 1930s and 1940s, it is surprising that she has not already been incorporated into histories of art which take a regionalist approach, since this place and period is regarded by many as the crucible of New Zealand’s modernism. She was a committed exhibiting artist, and her Dunedin works are extremely bold and experimental and gained critical acclaim. They accord with the modern approach to form and colour that is now highly regarded – for this modernity helped New Zealand break away from its artistic roots in the English watercolour tradition. Hamblett incorporated in her work some of the advances in colour and form championed by influential painters such as Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) and Henri Matisse (1869-1954). In contrast to her peers – Colin McCahon (1919-1987), Doris Lusk (1916-1990) and Toss Woollaston (1910-1998) – who have prominent positions in the art historical canon, Hamblett has been ignored. This is not because her works are any less significant or important, but because her output was short-lived (she exhibited only for about ten years), and societal expectations for a married woman circumscribed her career after she wed McCahon in 1942. As a woman artist, her path was more difficult than Woollaston’s or McCahon’s, and her subject matter, often flower pieces and landscapes, were small in scale and domestic in their aspiration. She stopped painting in the mid-1940s due to family obligations and, aside from her irregular illustrative work, did not resume making art until she took up pottery in 1978. This thesis acknowledges Hamblett’s important place in New Zealand’s art history by examining what she did achieve during her short career, despite the many challenges she faced, as well as the significant contribution she made to her husband’s work as both his critic and supporter. Hamblett was an important woman artist who deserves acknowledgement, and analysis of her artwork will provide additional insight into the development of painting in New Zealand as well as considering the role of the graphic arts – printmaking and illustration – in advancing modernism. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof Masters Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99264905008402091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights Restricted Item. Available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/nz/ en
dc.title Piecing the Parts Together: the art and life of Anne Hamblett (1915-1993) en
dc.type Thesis en
thesis.degree.discipline Art History en
thesis.degree.grantor The University of Auckland en
thesis.degree.level Masters en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
pubs.elements-id 627596 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2017-05-30 en

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