Pangatōtara Landscape No. 1

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Oil on paper on board
380 x 475mm

cm000935 on the Colin McCahon Online Catalogue.


In September 1942, Colin McCahon married Anne Hamblett, a fellow art student, in Ōtepoti. Shortly afterwards, they moved north to Pangatōtara in the Motueka district.

During the summer, they were joined by a close friend, the painter Doris Lusk. Lusk and McCahon painted landscapes (Lusk producing her well-known Tobacco Fields, Pangatōtara, Nelson), and discussed the merits of Paul Cézanne and the architectural structure of the land as he had represented it.

In his Pangatōtara works, McCahon is at his closest to the great French painter. McCahon sometimes obeyed Cézanne’s famous dictum to ‘treat nature by means of the cylinder, the sphere, the cone’ more literally than Cézanne did himself, and rather more in the manner of the Cubists, who also drew their inspiration from the remark.[1]

At the time, Toss Woollaston laid greater stress on colour as a means of constructing an appearance of reality than did McCahon, whose interest lay more in the feeling qualities of the painted landscape achieved through analytic treatment. Tonal gradations, rather than specific colour changes, suggest tangible shape and spatial relationships with other forms.


[1] Theodore Reff, ‘Cézanne on Solids and Spaces’, Artforum 16, no. 2 (October 1977): 34–37.

Further Info Hide Info


McCahon 43 [l.r.]

Exhibition History

Colin McCahon: Gates and Journeys, Auckland City Art Gallery (later Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki), Tāmaki Makaurau, 11 November 1988 to 26 February 1989

The Group: Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture, Ballantynes, Ōtautahi, 4 to 19 November 1943, cat. no. 37


Peter Simpson, Colin McCahon: There Is Only One Direction, Vol. 1 1919–1959 (Tāmaki Makaurau: Auckland University Press, 2019), 59.


Challenge Collection (later Fletcher Trust Collection), purchased from Janet Paul, 16 July 1985

Collection of Janet Paul