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Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artists: A Guide & Handbook

WRIGHT, Walter 1866–1933

WRIGHT, Walter 1866–1933

Born Nottingham, brother of Frank Wright. Emigrated to New Zealand with mother and elder brother 1877 and settled in Auckland. Did not begin to exhibit until 1889 but soon was teaching with his brother in “Wrights' Studio” in the Victoria Arcade. From about 1894–97 was in England attending Headierley Art School and again from about 1901–02 he studied with Stanhope Forbes in Newlyn, Cornwall. Before this spell in England was said to have used a lot of pink in his compositions and it was Forbes who advised him to delete it from his palette. Collaborated with his brother in preparing the book New Zealand: Painted by F. & W. Wright: Described by Hon. W. P. Reeves pub. 1908 with seventy-five colour reproductions, and colour plates of their water-colours were also part of Oceania pub. 1911. Walter Wright was more interested than his brother in painting people and pupils have said that when the two men were working in their studio, Walter used to put the final touches to figures when Frank included them in his landscapes. Walter painted mainly oils, really turning to watercolours only after Frank's death, but was always quite attracted to pastels. Late in his painting life he painted perhaps some of his best work, large oils of Auckland Harbour painted loosely and with thin oil and almost with a watercolour technique: but this work however was ignored by the local critics. Exhibited: ASA 1889–1925. Work included Centennial Ex Wtn 1940. Represented: ACAG, AIML, Hocken, Suter.