Takaka night and day by Colin McCahon

Takaka night and day by Colin McCahon

Takaka: night and day, 1948, by Colin McCahon.

In 1972, Colin McCahon (1919–87) wrote about the origin of his painting Takaka: night and day:

The Takaka painting was painted round the corner of a room [his bedroom/studio in the artist Doris Lusk’s house], no one wall being itself long enough. … It [re-]states my interest in landscape as a symbol of place and also of the human condition. It is not so much a portrait of a place as such but is a memory of a time and an experience of a particular place.

This work was painted in the studio from memory. McCahon was trying to capture the essence of Tākaka, not replicate the scene as he saw it. There is a Biblical allusion to the passing of night into day, darkness into light. This painting illustrates two issues that remained central to McCahon’s work throughout his career: his personal exploration of spirituality and religious faith, and his depiction of the New Zealand landscape.

At the time it was painted, this was the largest work McCahon had produced.

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