Eric Lee-Johnson

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1908, d.1993

Split Paling and Clay

  • 1949
  • Watercolour and ink
  • Presented by a group of subscribers, 1952
  • 275 x 396mm
  • 69/14

Around 1949 Eric Lee Johnson did many paintings showing the impermanence and decay of New Zealand’s rural buildings and, certainly, time and the elements have taken their toll on this old farmhouse. Working as a commercial artist, Johnson developed his technique of drawing with pen and ink to which he then applied broad, loose washes of watercolours. His style relates to the English Neo-Romantic movement of the 1930s and 1940s.

Johnson was born in Fiji and moved to New Zealand with his family in 1912. He studied at the Elam School of Fine Arts in Auckland and from 1927 worked as a lithographic artist and illustrator for the Publishers Wilson and Horton Ltd. In the 1930s Johnson lived in London. He returned to Wellington in 1938 but in 1943 established a studio in Auckland. He held a number of solo exhibitions over the years and in 1952 and 1953 was included in the ‘15 New Zealand Painters’ group exhibition held at Irving Galleries, London.