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Record Image
Weeks, John (New Zealand, b.1886, d.1965), Artist
Still life with yellow jug
oil on wood
380 x 500 mm sight size; 570 x 695 mm frame size
98-1970
Collection of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Purchased 1970 with funds from the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council of New Zealand.
John Weeks grew up in New Zealand and, after World War I, worked and studied in Britain and France and travelled extensively in Europe and North Africa. Following his return home, he made an important contribution to the development of New Zealand Modernism.
This work reveals Weeks’ familiarity with Cubism (he had studied with André Lhote in Paris), though his adaptation of it is somewhat superficial. Nonetheless the work is striking for its simplicity and harmony of forms and its clear, bold colour. Weeks spoke of ‘orchestrating’ colour and tone in his pictures and this approach is visible here in the play of reds, browns and oranges, heightened by accents of apple green, blue and bluish-grey and the yellow of the jug itself, as well as the strong rhythm created by the various black elements. Pattern is kept to a minimum – the blue zigzag on the neck of the jug, the scalloped edge of the tablecloth and the light curving pattern on the grey curtain – but the painting demonstrates Weeks’ strong sense of design. The open art book is a particularly intriguing element of the composition, its abstract images communicating a sense of the world beyond the domestic.

not on view

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