The Aviatrix

The Aviatrix  1933
oil on canvas, 530 x 450 mm
Post Family Trust Collection

This is one of Rita Angus’s most important early works, which she painted while still a student.

‘The Aviatrix’ is Angus’s sister Edna, one of the first women in New Zealand to hold a pilot’s licence. Edna radiates the cool confidence of a modern woman – like her famous contemporary, Jean Batten. The painting with its strong colours and simple forms, shows a similarly confident, modern style.

In 1933, Edna flew from Napier to Christchurch to visit her sisters. Edna’s boyfriend took Rita for a ride, and the plane ‘looped the loop’. Jean Angus recalled: ‘Rita was pale as a ghost when she landed. She lay flat out on the grass ... Rita never went up in a plane again.’

> Back to Early work 1929-36

All artworks are reproduced courtesy of the Estate of Rita Angus.