Dawn on Aorangi

William Francis Barraud, Artist

This is one of the paintings in our collection. It was made in New Zealand in circa 1870-1926.
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Object Detail

495 x 750mm
oil on board
Coming into winter, after a summer which seems to have lingered through autumn, it is easy to mourn the loss of the long, lazy days of summer in the face of crisp mornings and pitch black evenings. However winter can also be a time of great splendour. William Barraud’s Dawn on Aorangi show us the beauty of a New Zealand winter. The mountains are clothed in the pristine white blanket of snow which makes the landscapes of New Zealand so entrancing during the winter months. The light here is unique and during the short winter days light plays an important role in how we experience the world. In this painting we see the first rays of light catching the top of our tallest mountain, the snow gleaming in the dawn sun. Along with light colour is also incredibly emotive and each shade carries meaning and connotations - yellow is the sun, blue the sky and red is danger. The colours we associate with winter are those which dominate this painting - white, black and icy blue. In these colours we see the long dark nights, snow covered mountains, cloudy skies and icy mornings of winter. In Barraud’s painting the cold seems almost visceral; you can almost feel the chill piercing through the canvas New Zealanders have a long history with mountains; they intrigue, challenge and hold us. Renowned for our mountain climbers, New Zealand fosters a sense of adventure and winter is no match for our intrepidness.
- Sarah McClintock, Chron article, May 2013
Credit Line
Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui. Bequest of William Francis Barraud, Wellington, 1926.
Collection Type
Permanent collection
Acquisition Date
25 Jan 1926



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