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Douglas Lilburn 1945
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watercolour, 444 x 336 mm
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, on loan from the Rita Angus Estate
This portrait of the composer Douglas Lilburn – whom Rita Angus knew by his second name, Gordon – was one of her most prized works.
After their love affair, Lilburn remained a crucial figure in Angus’s life – as a friend and also as a fellow artist. Like Angus, Lilburn was intensely committed to his work and had a strong sense of himself as an artistic pioneer in New Zealand.
Angus was candid about what this work meant to her: ‘The water-colour portrait is more than a peak in my painting life, it is of a very intimate nature, the expression of my long and deep devotion to Gordon.’
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