Colin McCahon is widely recognised as New Zealand’s foremost painter. Over 45 years, his work encompassed many themes, subjects and styles, from landscape to figuration to abstraction and an innovative use of painted text. His adaption of aspects of modernist painting to a specific local situation and his intense engagement with spiritual matters, mark him out as a distinctive figure in twentieth-century art. The archive below chronicles McCahon's prolific output in the seven years he lived in French Bay. For a full overview of McCahon's painting ouevre go to www.mccahon.co.nz

1959-

Will he save him?  1959

Will he save him?, 1959, enamel on hardboard,1220 x 900mm. Collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

Cross, 1959

Cross, 1959, enamel on hardboard, 1219 x 762mm. Collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

I one, 1959

I one, 1959, enamel on hardboard, 1218 x 609mm. Collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

Kauri, 1959

Kauri, 1959, brush and ink wash on paper, 630 x 503mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

Northland, 1959

Northland, 1959, brush and ink on paper, 628 x 508mm. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

Elias triptych, 1959

Elias triptych, 1959, enamel and sand on 3 hardboard panels. Collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 
 

Northland triptych, 1959, panel 1

Northland triptych, 1959, enamel on 3 hardboard panels, panel 1: 1215 x 607mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

Northland triptych, 1959, panel 2

Northland triptych, 1959, enamel on 3 hardboard panels, panel 2: 1210 x 607mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

Northland triptych, 1959, panel 3

Northland triptych, 1959, enamel on 3 hardboard panels, panel 3: 1217 x 607mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

Northland, 1959

Northland, 1959, brush and ink on paper, 631 x 507mm. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

1958-

Northland Panels, 1958

Northland Panels, 1958, enamel on canvas. Collection of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

Tomorrow will be the same but not as this is

Tomorrow will be the same but not as this is, 1958-1959, enamel and sand on hardboard, 1886 x 1278mm. Collection Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, courtesy of Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

Pohutukawa tree. Tide out, 1958

Pohutukawa tree. Tide out, 1958, oil on board, 609 x 450mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 
 

Portrait, 1958

Portrait, 1958, brush and ink on paper, 760 x 555mm. Collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust.
 

Two, 1958

Two, 1958, watercolour on paper, 380 x 278mm. Collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust.
 

Head, 1958

Head, 1958, brush and ink on paper, 758 x 556mm. Collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 
 

Pohutukawa tree. Tide out, 1958

Pohutukawa tree. Tide out, 1958, oil on board, 609 x 450mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 
 

Six, 1958

Six, 1958, brush and ink on paper, 634 x 507mm. Collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

The Wake, 1958 panel 1

The Wake, 1958, ink and oil on 16 unstretched canvases, panel 1: 1785 x 1265mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

The Wake, 1958, panel 2

The Wake, 1958, ink and oil on 16 unstretched canvases, panel 2: 1785 x 740mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

The Wake, 1958, 3

The Wake, 1958, ink and oil on 16 unstretched canvases, panel 3: 1785 x 1265mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

The Wake, 1958, 4

The Wake, 1958, ink and oil on 16 unstretched canvases, panel 4: 1785 x 755mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

The Wake, 1958, 5

The Wake, 1958, ink and oil on 16 unstretched canvases, panel 5: 1785 x 1265mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

The Wake, 1958, 6

The Wake, 1958, ink and oil on 16 unstretched canvases, panel 6: 1785 x 1225mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

The Wake, 1958, 7

The Wake, 1958, ink and oil on 16 unstretched canvases, panel 7: 1785 x 1225mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

The Wake, 1958, 8

The Wake, 1958, ink and oil on 16 unstretched canvases, panel 8: 1785 x 1225mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

The Wake, 1958, 9

The Wake, 1958, ink and oil on 16 unstretched canvases, panel 9: 1785 x 1170mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

The Wake, 1958, 10

The Wake, 1958, ink and oil on 16 unstretched canvases, panel 10: 1785 x 820mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

The Wake, 1958, 11

The Wake, 1958, ink and oil on 16 unstretched canvases, panel 11: 1785 x 1265mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

The Wake, 1958, 12

The Wake, 1958, ink and oil on 16 unstretched canvases, panel 12: 1785 x 620mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

The Wake, 1958, 13

The Wake, 1958, ink and oil on 16 unstretched canvases, panel 13: 1785 x 1265mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

The Wake, 1958, 14

The Wake, 1958, ink and oil on 16 unstretched canvases, panel 14: 1785 x 1265mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

The Wake, 1958, 15

The Wake, 1958, ink and oil on 16 unstretched canvases, panel 15: 1785 x 790mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

The Wake, 1958, 16

The Wake, 1958, ink and oil on 16 unstretched canvases, panel 16: 1785 x 610mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

1957-

[Paper lithographic plate for Titirangi bush landscape and Old woman by the sea]

[Paper lithographic plate for Titirangi bush landscape and Old woman by the sea], 1957, lithographic crayon on card, 254 x 396mm. Courtesy National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

Kauri, 1957

Kauri, 1957, gouache on paper, 703 x 1180mm, Collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

Titirangi, winter, 1957

Titirangi, winter, 1957, oil on cardboard and board, 756 x 548mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 
 

Little Kauri tree, 1957

Little Kauri tree, 1957, oil on hardboard, 478 x 300mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 
 

1956-

Bush from the sun deck, Titirangi, 1956

Bush from the sun deck, Titirangi, 1956, oil on hardboard, 374 x 461mm. Collection of Forrester Gallery, Oamaru, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 
 

Titirangi, 1956

Titirangi, 1956 - 1957, oil on canvas and board, 950 x 1485mm. Collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

French Bay, 1956

French Bay, 1956, oil on canvas, 1270 x 965mm. Collection of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 
 

Madonna and Child, 1956

Madonna and Child, 1956, oil on paper and board, 765 x 562mm. Collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 
 

1955-

Portrait of the artist's daughter, 1955

Portrait of the artist's daughter, 1955, gouache and watercolour on paper, 746 x 539mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 
 

Kauri tree landscape, 1955

Kauri tree landscape, 1955, oil on paper and board, 774 x 540mm. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 
 

Kauri landscape, 1955

Kauri landscape, 1955, oil on paper and board, 768 x 562mm. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 
 

Diana Drummond, Riwaka, 1955

Diana Drummond, Riwaka, 1955, crayon on grey paper, 254 x 203mm. Collection of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

French Bay Titirangi, 1955

French Bay Titirangi, 1955, watercolour on paper, 382 x 560mm. Collection of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

Stage design for Art Gallery ballet, 1955

Stage design for Art Gallery ballet, 1955, crayon on paper, 204 x 258mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

Kauri forest, 1955

Kauri forest, 1955, oil on jute canvas, 874 x 764mm. Collection of Victoria University of Wellington Staff Club Collection, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 
 

Stage design for Art Gallery ballet, 1955

Stage design for Art Gallery ballet, 1955, crayon on paper, 205 x 258mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

Stage design for Art Gallery ballet, 1955

Stage design for Art Gallery ballet, 1955, crayon on paper, 204 x 258mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

1954-

Manukau 3, 1954

Manukau 3, 1954, oil on paper and hardboard, 551 x 746mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 
 

I Am, 1954

I Am, 1954, oil on jute canvas, 361 x 555mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 
 

Manukau 5, 1954

Manukau 5, 1954, oil on paper mounted on board, 562 x 764mm. Collection of Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

Manukau 3, 1954

Manukau 3, 1954, oil on paper and hardback, 551 x 746mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 
 

[Object and Image], 1954

[Object and Image], 1954, oil on canvas, 1470 x 910mm. Collection of Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 
 

Pastoral, 1954

Pastoral, 1954, brush and ink wash on paper, 499 x 619mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

Kauri tree, 1954

Kauri tree, 1954, lithograph on paper, 336 x 247mm. Courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

I and Thou, 1954

I and Thou, 1954, 1954 - 1955, oil on hardboard, 559 x 533mm. Collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

Kauri trees, 1954

Kauri trees, 1954, oil on canvas, 775 x 883mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 
 

[Kauri nude], 1954

[Kauri nude], 1954, brush, ink wash on paper, 355 x 278mm. Collection on Dunedin Public Art Gallery, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

The illumination of festivals, 1954

The illumination of festivals, 1954, oil on board, 740 x 630mm. Collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust.
 

Whale Beach II, 1954

Whale Beach II, 1954, brush and ink wash on paper, 557 x 760mm. Collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust.
 

Kauri, 1954

Kauri, 1954, brush and ink wash on paper, 636 x 509mm. Collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

1953-

The Rape of Dejanira (after Michelangelo), 1953

The Rape of Dejanira (after Michelangelo), 1953, gesso and watercolour on cardboard, 517 x 651mm. Collection of Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 
 

Towards Auckland 3, 1953

Towards Auckland 3, 1953, gouache and watercolour on paper, 557 x 763mm. Collection of Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 
 

Towards Auckland 4, 1953

Towards Auckland 4, 1953, watercolour on paper, 557 x 763mm. Collection of Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 
 

Towards Auckland, 1953

Towards Auckland, 1953, crayon and watercolour on paper, 542 x 745mm. Private collection, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust.  

[Cover design for the programme to Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen], 1953

[Cover design for the programme to Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen], 1953, bruch on paper, 225 x 148mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

[Cover design for the programme to Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen], 1953

[Cover design for the programme to Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen], 1953, bruch on paper, 225 x 148mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

Stage design for Peer Gynt: Act 1, Scene 1: Mother and Son, 1953

Stage design for Peer Gynt: Act 1, Scene 1: Mother and Son, 1953, ballpoint pen and watercolour on paper, 204 x 258mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 
 

Stage design for Peer Gynt: Act 1, Scene 2: Wedding Day, 1953

Stage design for Peer Gynt: Act 1, Scene 2: Wedding Day, 1953, ballpoint pen and watercolour on paper, 204 x 258mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

Stage design for Peer Gynt: Act 1, Scene 5: The Troll King, 1953

Stage design for Peer Gynt: Act 1, Scene 5: The Troll King, 1953, ballpoint pen and watercolour on paper, 204 x 258mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

Stage design for Peer Gynt: Act 2, Scene 4: The Emperor of Self, 1953

Stage design for Peer Gynt: Act 2, Scene 4: The Emperor of Self, 1953, ballpoint pen and watercolour on paper, 204 x 258mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

Stage design for Peer Gynt: Act 2, Scene 2: Anitra, a tent in the desert, 1953

Stage design for Peer Gynt: Act 2, Scene 2: Anitra, a tent in the desert, 1953, ballpoint pen and watercolour on paper, 204 x 258mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

Stage design for Peer Gynt: Act 3, Scene 7: Homecoming, 1953

Stage design for Peer Gynt: Act 3, Scene 7: Homecoming, 1953, ballpoint pen and watercolour on paper, 204 x 258mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

Stage design for Peer Gynt: Act 2, Scene 1: Morocco, 1953

Stage design for Peer Gynt: Act 2, Scene 1: Morocco, 1953, ballpoint pen and watercolour on paper, 204 x 258mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

Stage design for Peer Gynt: Act 2, Scene 3: Solveig's Song, 1953

Stage design for Peer Gynt: Act 2, Scene 3: Solveig's Song, 1953, ballpoint pen and watercolour on paper, 204 x 258mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

Towards Auckland 5, 1953

Towards Auckland 5, 1953, gouache and watercolour on paper, 543 x 748mm. Collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

Stage design for Peer Gynt: Act 3, Scene 1: On Shipboard, 1953

Stage design for Peer Gynt: Act 3, Scene 1: On Shipboard, 1953, ballpoint pen and watercolour on paper, 204 x 258mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

Stage design for Peer Gynt: Act 1, Scene 6: The Casting Ladle, 1953

Stage design for Peer Gynt: Act 1, Scene 6: The Casting Ladle, 1953, ballpoint pen and watercolour on paper, 204 x 258mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

Stage design for Peer Gynt: Act 1, Scenes 3-4: The Search and The Woman in Green, 1953

Stage design for Peer Gynt: Act 1, Scenes 3-4: The Search and The Woman in Green, 1953, ballpoint pen and watercolour on paper, 204 x 258mm. Collection of Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

House in trees, Titirangi, 1953

House in trees, Titirangi, 1953, oil on cardboard, 533 x 608mm. Collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 
 

Kauri, 1953

Kauri, 1953, oil on cardboard, 516 x 646mm. Collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

French Bay, 1953

French Bay, 1953 - 1955, gouache on paper, 732 x 872mm. Collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

1952-

Titirangi cupboard door, 1952

Titirangi cupboard door, 1952 - 1954, oil on plywood, 685 x 545mm. Collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

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