A collection of works about Douglas MacDiarmid and his influences

Colours of a life - biography of Douglas MacDiarmid by Anna Cahill

Colours of a Life – the life and times of Douglas MacDiarmid by Anna Cahill (2018)

A biography of the life and times of Douglas MacDiarmid over the past 10 decades, from his childhood in New Zealand, through his long and colourful painting career in France. The art, relationships, travel, and philosophies of a truly charismatic expatriate New Zealand painter.

NZ$80, plus $10 postage and handling for orders for New Zealand. Contact us for shipping costs to other locations.

MacDiarmid by Dr Nelly Finet (2002). An art history book available from www.douglasmacdiarmid.com

MacDiarmid by Dr Nelly Finet (2002)

An illustrated art book featuring 80 of Douglas MacDiarmid’s finest works from a career spanning more than 60 years, by French art historian Dr Nelly Finet. Published in both English and French to coincide with exhibitions in New Zealand and France for his 80th birthday.

Featuring Douglas’ iconic acrylic landscape of his childhood hometown of Taihape (1991) on the dust jacket, this hard copy edition is long out of print. However, while in Paris researching for the biography, Anna Cahill discovered a sealed box of these books in the basement of Douglas’ apartment. There are a limited number of copies available in English and French.

NZ$109, including postage

A Stranger Everywhere – a film about Douglas MacDiarmid by Eric Grinda (2006)

A Stranger Everywhere by Eric Grinda (2006)

This film presents the clear vision of the artist Douglas MacDiarmid, whose choices and event places him at the right distance from any subject. He looks at key issues of life, accompanied by some of his work. Read more>>

Starring: Douglas MacDiarmid
Runtime: 52 minutes

Rent or buy from Amazon.com

Bloomsbury South by Peter Simpson

Bloomsbury South: The Arts in Christchurch 1933 – 1953 by Peter Simpson (2017)

For two decades in Christchurch, New Zealand, a cast of extraordinary men and women remade the arts. Variously between 1933 and 1953, Christchurch was the home of Angus and Bensemann and McCahon, Curnow and Glover and Baxter, the Group, the Caxton Press and the Little Theatre, Landfall and Tomorrow, Ngaio Marsh, Douglas Lilburn and Douglas MacDiarmid. It was a city in which painters lived with writers, writers promoted musicians, in which the arts and artists from different forms were deeply intertwined. And it was a city where artists developed a powerful synthesis of European modernist influences and an assertive New Zealand nationalism that gave mid-century New Zealand cultural life its particular shape.

Available from Fishpond NZ

The Deepening Stream. A history of the New Zealand Literary Fund by Elizabeth Caffin and Andrew Mason (2016), featuring the work of Douglas MacDiarmid on the cover.

The Deepening Stream: A History of the New Zealand Literary Fund by Elizabeth Caffin and Andrew Mason (2016)

It set Elizabeth Smither dancing, it enabled Maurice Gee to become a full-time writer, it allowed Marilyn Duckworth to hire a babysitter. Barry Crump said, ‘The New Zealand Literary Fund came across with some dough to help me write this. Not a bad bunch.’ The New Zealand Literary Fund was a small amount of public money skilfully dispensed over 40 years to hundreds of writers and publishers. Unobtrusively but persistently, the fund and the dedicated men and women who allotted its largesse laid the foundations of the literary culture we enjoy today. From a small gesture of government patronage in the postwar world, it slowly grew, expanding its reach, enlarging its ambitions and acquiring partners. This is its story.

Featuring Papa Cliff Pool with Bathers, Taihape (1947) by Douglas MacDiarmid on the cover, a small oil from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Collection.

Available from Fishpond NZ

It's all about the image by Dick Frizzell

It’s All About The Image by Dick Frizzell (2011)

Take a trip through New Zealand art via Dick Frizzell’s point of view. He shines a light on some of the works he’s always loved – a number of which have seemed to miss muster in the usual round-ups. It’s an eclectic bunch of paintings and begins with images he was drawn to (because that’s what it was all about a images) back before he was told what he’d be better off looking at.

From Peter McIntyre inviting him up onto the scaffolding to watch him painting the WWII mural in the Hastings War Memorial Library, through to discovering modern art at art school, his first sighting of a McCahon, teaching at Elam with talented students like Karl Maughan and discovering the brightest of bring young things today – this is a wonderful journey.

A fascinating discussion of art history through the eyes of our most mainstream populist artist. Examines the stars of New Zealand painting in a colloquial and revelatory way.

Available from Fishpond NZ

Landscape paintings of New Zealand by Christopher Johnstone (featuring Douglas MacDiarmid)

Landscape Paintings of New Zealand: A Journey from North to South by Christopher Johnstone (2013)

With 135 paintings from early colonial art to the work of contemporary painters, this book is a must-have for every lover of New Zealand and its art. First published in 2006 with 103 paintings, this edition includes an additional 32 paintings. It is studded with works by well-known artists such as Colin McCahon, Peter Siddell, Dick Frizzell, Doris Lusk, Rita Angus, John Gully, and many more famous names from New Zealand art history, along with lesser known painters including Archibald Nicholl, Max Walker, Cedric Savage and Douglas MacDiarmid.

With biographical notes on each artist, fascinating insights into social history and art history, and with a beautiful new design, this is a must-have for every book shelf and coffee table. Indeed, in 2013 the Times Literary Supplement included it in its ‘books of the year’ list.

Available from Fishpond NZ

Back and Beyond: New Zealand Painting for the Young and Curious by Gregory O’Brien (2008)

Since Māori first drew moa and mythical birds on cave walls, artists in Aotearoa New Zealand have provided an imaginative, lively account of the lives locals have been leading, the dreams they’ve been dreaming and the stories they’ve been telling. Alongside works painted during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Back and Beyond features art by contemporary painters and printmakers, all of them seasoned travellers across time and space, including Douglas MacDiarmid.

Winner of New Zealand Post Children’s Book Award: Non-Fiction Award 2009; shortlisted for Storylines Notable New Zealand Books: Non Fiction 2009 and LIANZA Children’s Book Awards: Elsie Locke Award 2009.

Available from Fishpond NZ

Rita Angus An Artists Life by Jill Trevalyan

Rita Angus: An Artist’s Life by Jill Trevelyan (2008)

Rita Angus (1908–70) was one of New Zealand’s most loved and respected artists. Landscapes and portraits such as Cass, Central Otago, and Rutu have become national icons. Yet until now, Angus’ life has remained a mystery.

In this fascinating book, Rita Angus: An Artist’s Life, Jill Trevelyan (editor of Toss Woollaston: A Life in Letters) paints a vivid picture of Rita Angus the person – curious and forthright, staunchly pacifist and feminist, and wholly dedicated to her art. Stunning artworks, personal photographs, and insightful letters help bring Angus’ colourful and complex story to life.

Available from Fishpond NZ

New Zealand Portraits by Richard Wolfe

New Zealand Portraits by Richard Wolfe (2008)

A magnificent collection of New Zealand painted portraits from our earliest times. With selections based on the quality of the art and the importance of the artist, this offering is a significant snapshot of a vital aspect of New Zealand’s art heritage. After introductory essays, in which author Richard Wolfe discusses alternately the nature of a portrait and New Zealand’s history of portraiture as an art form, the book features 83 full-page portraits alongside their provenance, historical significance and often little-known facts. The coverage begins with the work of early explorer, settler and soldier artists such as Earle and Angas, covers images of Maori by artists such as Lindauer and Goldie, advances through to the work of artists such as Rita Angus, Colin McCahon, and Nigel Brown, and finishes with the current (and future) generation of noted New Zealand painters.

Available from Fishpond NZ

Douglas Lilburn by Dr Philip Norman 2006 CUP

Douglas Lilburn: His Life and Music by Philip Norman (2006)

A salute to ‘the father of New Zealand composition’ offering fascinating insights into the world of New Zealand music, literature and fine art through the eyes and ears of one of the nation’s most creative sons, Douglas Lilburn.

A core figure of arts activity in New Zealand from the 1940s, Lilburn forged friendships with cultural luminaries, including Allen Curnow, Denis Glover, Rita Angus, Alistair Campbell and Douglas MacDiarmid, and associations with leading arts organisations, from the National Film Unit and the literary journal Landfall to the New Zealand Players and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Lilburn taught at Victoria University of Wellington for 30 years where he helped to establish the most influential music school in New Zealand. His work was recognised with many honours, including a rare Order of New Zealand, New Zealand’s highest award. This biography is a lively and long-overdue account of an extraordinary man who enriched the lives of many.

Winner of the Biography Section, Montana NZ Book Awards 2007 and Finalist – Best First Book (Non-fiction), Montana NZ Book Awards 2007.

Available from Fishpond NZ

Life and Times of Douglas MacDiarmid biography
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