In the mid-1960s, Gordon Walters emerged as a unique presence in the modern movement in New Zealand, engaging with international modernism in a series of geometric, abstract paintings that positioned the traditional, organic koru form of Māori art within the aesthetics of European and American abstraction.
Walters had attended the Wellington Technical School of Art (1935-1944), becoming interested in European modernism through reproductions of works by Yves Tanguy and his association with Dutch refugee, Theo Schoon, who introduced Walters to Māori rock art.
Travelling to Europe in 1950, he was exposed to works by Mondrian, as well as the pure abstraction of Victor Vasarely. In the mid fifties he had researched Māori rafter painting and decorative design by visiting museums with fellow artist Theo Schoon and analyzing the forms. Walters modified the motif by geometricizing it and alternating positive and negative versions in the manner of the Italian painter Giuseppe Caprogrossi (1900 -1972) but with a horizontal axis. From the mid-1950s his painting utilized the koru form, taken from kowhaiwhai panels and tattoo, responding to its potential for simultaneously defining positive and negative space on the surface of the picture plane.
Using black and white (softened sometimes to grey and cream) Walters’ canvases created a pulsing musicality. When the korus were vertically stacked, an optical shimmer akin to that found in the works of Bridget Riley, occurred. Or when sparely organized, a subtle lyricism was created. Walters also often experimented with muted colour and dramatically enlarged korus, always settling on final composition and scale by adjusting preparatory collages.
In the mid eighties Walters abandoned korus and began using austere boxlike compositions that investigated planar tensions and spatial suggestiveness resulting from transparent shape, the result of his long interest in the French abstract artist Herbin, the American abstract artist McLaughlin and forms found in Māori cave art.
This much revered figure of New Zealand modernism is in all New Zealand’s major collections. In 1983 Auckland Art gallery presented a retrospective of his career so far and a major book on his work is currently being prepared by art historian Francis Pound.
Private collection Hamilton
View At Ocula Black Gallery
This artwork is available to be viewed in person at our gallery in Auckland. The gallery is located at:
25 Sale Street
Monday - Friday : 10am - 6pm
Saturday : By appointment
+64 9 3033 126
How To Bid
Once registered on Ocula Black you can bid. When making a bid, enter it into the field to the left of the Place Bid button on a Lot page. Bids increase in increments relative to the value of the lot. If you choose to Auto Bid then Ocula Black will automatically bid on your behalf up to the maximum bid you choose to make on the lot. The currency you bid in is the currency you chose when you registered. If you wish to change your currency go to Profile in your My Account where you will see an option to change your currency.
When you click on the Place Bid button you will be taken to the Confirm Your Bid page. Here you have the opportunity to review the lot and any costs associated with purchase. You are bound by the Terms and Conditions and should take note to read the Returns and Refunds section therein.
To confirm your bid, which is final, click on the Confirm Bid button. A message will display to confirm it has been received by Ocula Black. You will also immediately receive an email to advise that your bid has been received and is leading or not as the case may be. This process is repeated each time that you bid unless you elect to use our Auto Bid feature described earlier.
When you have made a successful bid and win a lot you will be sent an invoice, which will detail your purchase. Payment is due within 5 days from the close of the on-line auction and full details about payment for your purchase can be found in the Payment and Right of Return section on this page.
The Buyer is responsible for the collection of artwork(s) purchased and/or for all shipping costs including; packing, courier, insurance and any applicable import duties or taxes. The Buyer is the highest bidder (having met reserve or higher) or purchaser of the artwork(s) in a negotiated post auction sale.
Artwork Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Artwork Dimensions (including frame, if applicable): 79 x 59 x 2 cm
Artwork Weight: TBC
For more information on shipping please click here or view our Terms & Conditions and see section 5.3.
Payment and Right of Return
The buyer will be invoiced within 48 hours of the end of the auction. The buyer is the highest bidder having met the reserve or higher, or a post auction sale has been negotiated.
Payment is required by internet bank transfer or if organised prior to the auction we may accept Visa or Mastercard, however there is a surcharge for credit card payment. The option to pay by cheque must also be arranged prior to an auction.
Payments for purchases are to Ocula Black. Sale proceeds are not paid to a vendor until an artwork is delivered to a buyer and the buyers 14 day Right Of Return has expired.
For more information on payments please click here or view our terms & conditions and see section 5.3.
Right of Return
The seller provides a 14 day 'Right Of Return' policy. The seller warrants that the artwork is authentic and that the information and images they have supplied is true and correct to the best of their knowledge.
For more information on Right of Return please click here or view our terms & conditions and see section 5.3.
If you would like more information about this artwork then please contact us. Or if you would prefer, please call us in Australia on 1800 045 308, in the USA on 1 855 488 3669, in Hong Kong on 800 901 252 and in New Zealand on 09 3033 126.
We have the expertise to answer most questions and will research on your behalf if we don't have the answers.