Artist Profile

John Weeks

Born 1886, Died 1965

Born in Devonshire England, Weeks came to New Zealand in 1892 and took lessons from Edward Fristrom at the Elam School of Art in 1908. He went overseas to serve with the New Zealand Medical Corps in the First World War returning in 1919 and from 1921 to 1922 was a student at the Canterbury College of Art. He next studied at the Edinburgh College of Art and at Andrew Lhote's Academy in Paris and his contact with modernist art was to make him an influential figure on his return to this country.

Before returning to Auckland in 1929, Weeks travelled to France, North Africa and Italy, and many of these subjects are held in New Zealand collections. Weeks became a dominant figure, both as a painter and a teacher, and his cubist style not totally abstracted, was to become his hallmark.

In 1948 a fire at the Elam School of Art destroyed some 300 of his paintings; a tragedy which discouraged him to the point where he almost ceased to paint. In 1955 the Auckland City Art Gallery curated a retrospective of his work and an OBE was awarded him in 1958.

Weeks is represented in all major New Zealand galleries and it is only recently that his contribution to New Zealand painting has begun to be recognised.

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