Colin McCahon

Letters and Numbers

Free entry

NGV International

Level 3, Contemporary Art & Design

14 Nov 19 – 8 Jul 20


2019 marks the centenary of the birth of Colin McCahon (1919-1987). Widely regarded as the most influential New Zealand artist of the 20th century, McCahon developed a singular vision over a career of more than four decades. His unique contribution to twentieth-century art is distinguished by his characteristic use of painted text, relentless exploration of religious ideas and integration of aspects of international modernism to the local regional context. McCahon’s inventive and deeply personal visual language traversed a complex territory addressing themes and subjects including Christian and Māori spirituality, emotional and symbolic journeys, the landscape, environmental concerns and the expressive potential of numbers and words.

Colin McCahon: Letters and Numbers explores McCahon’s significance through a close examination of works in the collection of the NGV. The exhibition also provides insights into the artist’s early connection with the NGV. McCahon’s first trip outside New Zealand was to Melbourne in 1951 to study paintings in the NGV collection, a pivotal moment in his career.

The exhibition includes all works by Colin McCahon in the NGV Collection.

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Colin McCahon | Letters and Numbers