One Small Tree (Lemon Tree Series)

Nigel Brown, Artist

This is one of the paintings in our collection. It was made in New Zealand in 1977.
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Object Detail

Image: H607 x W453mm
oil on paper
This work show the influence of Colin McCahon, one of Brown's teachers at Elam. If forms part of a major series by the artist -
"LEMON TREES: These works divide into two sets - small acrylics on paper and larger oils on board. All feature the figure of the symbolic black-singleted kiwi male, sometimes joined by members of his family, kneeling before a wizened, struggling backyard lemon tree. In a manner derived from Rouault all the works are bordered by loosely-painted frames and these frames contain brief phrases (samples: weeping weeping bitter by the lemon tree. . . Don't you see its green leaves sprouting?). In the final work in 1979 the tree has died after bearing one perfect yellow fruit, and the figure kneels bereft, helplessly questioning nature's will.
Here we have an exquisite group of small icons for a backyard shrine. Drawing unashamedly on the work of Rouault, Brown re-interpreted that European vision in a New Zealand setting. The pathos of the axeman, showing his spiritual side as he falls on his knees before the visible fruit of his faith and toil, is balanced by some of the finest use of colour in all Brown's work."
- from
Credit Line
Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui. Purchased, 1977.
Collection Type
Permanent collection
Acquisition Date
12 Dec 1977



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