Artist Profile

Alfred Wilson Walsh

Born 1859, Died 1916

Alfred Walsh was born in Kyneton, Victoria, moving to Otago as a child. He was educated privately in Dunedin and developed a keen love of the local countryside. Like many New Zealand watercolourists, his early years were spent working as a draughtsman and in his spare time he sketched and received instruction in painting. One of his tutors at the time was George O'Brien.

By the age of 27 he had established a reputation as a painter and this led to his appointment on the teaching staff of the School of Art in Christchurch. After having taught there for 20 years, he left for Auckland in 1912, settled in Parnell and devoted all his time to painting. His later years were spent in Tauranga where he died at the age of 57.

Walsh was remarkable amongst the established New Zealand painters in-so-far-as he never travelled abroad and received little formal training. Quite justly however, he is regarded as one of the finest watercolourists New Zealand has produced. The excellence of his work is lodged in his perception - his ability to comprehend and record the illusive qualities of the New Zealand bush. Although Walsh was not accepted in his own time, he has now become recognised as an artist who grew to maturity in New Zealand by drawing strength from familiar surroundings.

Walsh is represented in all major public galleries in New Zealand.

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