Self Portrait ; Sydney Lough Thompson; 1917; 2008.004

Name/Title

Self Portrait

About this object

It was Petrus van der Velden's painting which first aroused Sydney L Thompson's interest in art, motivating him to register as a student at the Canterbury College School of Art in 1895 and to take lessons at van der Valden's studio, where the painter was a formative influence upon the young artist. Thompson was counted one of he most promising students at the School of Art, and in 1896 gained three of the six free studentships. In 1899 he won a silver medal for still-life painting in the competition of the British Department of Science and Art, the highest award gained by an art student in New Zealand.

For most of his life Thompson and his family divided their time between Europe and New Zealand. He served as vice president of the New Zealand Society of Artists (1934), president of the Canterbury Society of Arts (1935-37), a member of the Committee of Management of the National Art Gallery, Wellington, and a member of the Christchurch City Council's Art Gallery Committee. He lectured and exhibited widely, and was made a OBE in 1937. Thompson's career spanned several decades, and although he has been criticised for his conservatism, in the early 1920s he introduced New Zealanders to some of the advances which had been made in modern European art.

His painterly brushwork, use of bright colour and tonal relationships presented new directions, and influenced a number of Canterbury artists. Despite his expatriate lifestyle (maintaining a house in Grasee, France), Thompson never cut his ties with New Zealand, but shared the attitudes and aspirations of many New Zealanders of his time and background. A retrospective exhibition in Christchurch in 1990 confirmed the continuing nostalgic appeal of his paintings. In France, regional recognition came in 1992 with a retrospective at the Musée de Pont-Aven, near Concarneau.

Maker

Sydney Lough Thompson

Date Made

1917

Medium and Materials

Graphite on paper

Inscription and Marks

Thompson 17 (Bottom left)
There is an figure sketch on the back

Subject and Association Keywords

Thompson, Sydney

Subject and Association Description

Sydney Lough Thompson
1877-1973

It was Petrus van der Velden's painting which first aroused Sydney L Thompson's interest in art, motivating him to register as a student at the Canterbury College School of Art in 1895 and to take lessons at van der Valden's studio, where the painter was a formative influence upon the young artist. Thompson was counted one of he most promising students at the School of Art, and in 1896 gained three of the six free studentships. In 1899 he won a silver medal for still-life painting in the competition of the British Department of Science and Art, the highest award gained by an art student in New Zealand.

For most of his life Thompson and his family divided their time between Europe and New Zealand. He served as vice president of the New Zealand Society of Artists (1934), president of the Canterbury Society of Arts (1935-37), a member of the Committee of Management of the National Art Gallery, Wellington, and a member of the Christchurch City Council's Art Gallery Committee. He lectured and exhibited widely, and was made a OBE in 1937. Thompson's career spanned several decades, and although he has been criticised for his conservatism, in the early 1920s he introduced New Zealanders to some of the advances which had been made in modern European art.

His painterly brushwork, use of bright colour and tonal relationships presented new directions, and influenced a number of Canterbury artists. Despite his expatriate lifestyle (maintaining a house in Grasee, France), Thompson never cut his ties with New Zealand, but shared the attitudes and aspirations of many New Zealanders of his time and background. A retrospective exhibition in Christchurch in 1990 confirmed the continuing nostalgic appeal of his paintings. In France, regional recognition came in 1992 with a retrospective at the Musée de Pont-Aven, near Concarneau.

Credit Line

NZPG

Object number

2008.004

Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

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