Artist Profile

James McLauchlan Nairn

Born 1859, Died 1904

Born near Glasgow, Nairn studied under Robert Greenlees at the Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts as well as the Academie Julian in Paris. He worked with the Glasgow Art Club, a group which, like the French Impressionists, was interested in light and colour. Before his emigration to New Zealand, Nairn, who was already well thought of as an artist, exhibited with the Scottish Royal Academy and the Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts.

In January 1890 he arrived in New Zealand, spending a short time at Mataura in Southland before visiting Dunedin to give lectures and subsequently sailing to Wellington where he immediately held an exhibition of his work. He was appointed teacher at the Wellington Technical College School of Design and received much public criticism for his impressionist style work and for instituting a life class drawing from the nude.

He exhibited at first with the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, but was critical at the way it was run by non-painters and formed the Wellington Art Club who, for some years, held their own exhibitions. In 1894 he rented "Pumpkin Cottage" at Silverstream, this becoming a gathering place for many of the artists of the time. Years later however he rejoined the Academy and exhibited with them.

His work was included in the Centennial Exhibition of 1940 and paintings are held in all major public collections throughout New Zealand.

Artworks by this Artist
View All Artworks by this Artist
Ferner Key