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Portrait of Alan Thornton ; Michael Illingworth; 1968; 69/26

Portrait of Alan Thornton ; Michael Illingworth; 1968; 69/26
Portrait of Alan Thornton
About this object
This work is described by Richard Wolfe in his book New Zealand Portraits as a "hard-edged and light-hearted representation of fellow artist Alan Thornton." (pp 37) Illingworth is most well known for the stylised characters he painted. Of these he said "The little paintings with no mouths and with hands waiving signify two things; the feeling of a 'lost quality' - what am I doing here? where do I belong- and the feeling of possibilty, purity, an ideal that perhaps might become something but is certainly nothing at the moment..." (Barry Lett 'Interview with Michael Illingworth' Barry Lett Newsletter, 19 August 1965)
Maker Role
Date Made
Medium and Materials
Oil on canvas
Place Made
New Zealand
H 941 W 866mm
Subject and Association Description
Born in England and arriving in New Zealand in 1951, Illingworth left in 1957 to study art in Paris and Athens, also working for Gallery One in London. He returned in 1962 to settle in the Coromandel where he farmed and painted. Illingworth worked as an outsider, at times isolated from the art world and contemporary society which he believed was very concerned with outward appearances. His work often challenged and poked fun at aspects of the urban and modern New Zealand way of life.

Collection of Te Manawa Art Society Inc.
Credit Line
Purchased 1969 with funds from AGMANZ and the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council. Image courtesy of Dene Illingworth.
Object Type
Object number


Alan Thornton
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