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April 2013, vol 9, no 1

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Patricia Prime


The Little Red Station

I can’t say what drew me to the image of Cass. It is one of the iconic images of 20th-century New Zealand painting. The work depicts a small red railway station in inland Canterbury, in an isolated bush-clad area. It was a scene that the artist Rita Angus visited in 1936 with fellow artist Louise Henderson. I’d first fallen in love with the artwork when I saw it in Auckland.

art gallery
copying a still life
still student

The image of the remote railway station surrounded by mountains and bush is typical of the small communities that dot the South Island. The figure sitting on the platform at right in the composition is dwarfed by the surrounding landscape and accentuates feelings of isolation and remoteness.

margin of the world
migratory birds
take flight

While I was on holiday in Canterbury my daughter and I visited the location and took photographs of each other standing in the doorway. The peace and tranquility of the area, with horses grazing in a nearby paddock and birds calling from the trees was surreal. Later, in the Christchurch museum, we found a small print which my daughter bought me for a birthday present and I have a 2013 calendar that contains an image of Cass by a modern artist.




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