Rotunda at Ngaruawahia

Douglas Kerr MacDiarmid
Production date
The Ngaruawahia Rotunda depicted in this watercolour was built in 1910 and looks out over the merging of the Waipa and Waikato rivers. Painted relatively early in Douglas MacDiarmid’s career, it is likely that this work was completed shortly before the artist moved to Paris, France in the late 1940s.

Douglas MacDiarmid (1922 – August 2020) was born and raised in Taihape, and educated at Huntly Preparatory School, Marton and Timaru Boys High School as a boarder. He continued his education at Canterbury University, Christchurch, where he completed an arts degree in the 1940s. During this time he was heavily influenced by his associations with the ‘Christchurch Group’ which included artists such as Evelyn Page, Rita Angus, and Leo Bensemann. His move to France during a time when French art was still dominant on the world stage allowed MacDiarmid to make the most of his opportunities.

MacDiarmid's major period of production from the 1950s to the 2000s saw him exhibiting all over the world. He held 41 solo exhibitions in New Zealand alone, including an official 1990 Sesquicentennial exhibition in Wellington where he was declared a New Zealand living cultural treasure, and dual exhibitions in 2002 in Auckland, Wellington and Paris to celebrate the working artist at 80. This milestone was also marked by the release of the art history book 'MacDiarmid', written by Dr Nelly Finet, in New Zealand and France. His illlustrated biography Colours of a Life: The life and times of Douglas MacDiarmid, by Anna Cahill, was published in New Zealand in July 2018. MacDiarmid is held in all of the important art collections in New Zealand, and institutional and private collections throughout the world.
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Object detail

Production date
Watercolour on paper
526 x 643 x 25mm (frame)
240 x 376mm (image)
Production place
Department collection type
Credit line
Trust Waikato Art and Taonga Collection,
Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato,
Courtesy MacDiarmid Arts Trust
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