ELLIS, Robert;

City and River in Orange Landscape

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Oil on board
1220 x 1220mm

In 1961 and 1962, Robert Ellis took sabbatical leave from his position as senior lecturer at Elam School of Fine Arts and visited Great Britain and Spain. Travels in the latter influenced him deeply. City and River in Orange Landscape is evocative of the sort of Castilian town that he encountered. The sense of aerial perspective no doubt relates to his time serving with the 3 Group Bomber Command Photographic Unit of the Royal Air Force between 1947 and 1949. Ellis has commented, ‘I spent most of my airforce working life in the Photo Section processing thousands of aerial prints containing complex multiple images, each annotated with data … This novel way of experiencing landscape, coupled with the appended notes, made a lasting impression.’[1]


[1] Hamish Keith et al., Robert Ellis (Tāmaki Makaurau: Ron Sang Publications, 2014), 283.

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Robert Ellis '64 [l.r.] 18 / 'CITY & RIVER / IN ORANGE / LANDSCAPE' / by Robert Ellis 1964 / 122 x 122cm. [verso]

Exhibition History

Robert Ellis, Turangawaewae | A Place to Stand, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 9 August 2014 to 15 March 2015

Representation and Reaction: Modernism and the New Zealand Landscape Tradition 1956–1977, Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua, Whanganui, 31 August to 27 October 2002 (toured)

Contemporary Painting in New Zealand (or Contemporary New Zealand Painting 1965), organised by the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council of New Zealand, Commonwealth Institute, London, November 1965 (toured), cat. no. 18


Hamish Keith et al., Robert Ellis (Tāmaki Makaurau: Ron Sang Publications, 2014), 21.


Challenge Collection (later Fletcher Trust Collection), purchased from Petar/James Gallery, 6 December 1981