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New Biography of New Zealand Sculptor

Which New Zealand sculptor had his work admired by Auguste Rodin, was a Morris dancer, and is only now having his first solo exhibition? The answer is Francis Shurrock (1887 - 1977), who was probably the greatest figure in New Zealand sculpture during the first half of the twentieth century, and certainly the greatest teacher of sculpture this country has known.

A biography has just been published, titled Francis Shurrock: Shaping New Zealand Sculpture, written by art historian Mark Stocker. The book covers Shurrock's early life in England, his student days at the Royal College of Art in London, his teaching years at the Canterbury College of Art in Christchurch, and his career as an artist. Among those Shurrock taught were Bill Sutton, Austen Deans, Jim Allen and Molly Macalister. As Professor Michael Dunn has written: 'His pupils read like a Who's Who of post-war New Zealand sculpture.'

Anyone interested in New Zealand art will find this an informative, interesting book. It has an attractive layout with numerous photographs, most in black and white, some in colour.

The book has been written to accompany a touring exhibition of Shurrock's work, on at the Robert McDougall Art Gallery, Christchurch (October 2000 - January 2001), and the Hocken Gallery, Dunedin (March - April 2001). The exhibition is the first ever exclusively devoted to Shurrock, and is also the last to be held at the McDougall before its exhibitions close for two years during the transition to the new Christchurch Art Gallery.

About the Author Mark Stocker is a Senior Lecturer in Art History at the University of Canterbury. He is the author of Angels and Roses: The Art of Frederick Gurnsey (1997), Golden Atoms: The Ernest Rutherford Medals (1999) and over fifty entries on nineteenth and early twentieth-century sculptors for The Grove Dictionary of Art (1996) and the forthcoming New Dictionary of National Biography. Currently he is editing a book on John Robert Godley.

Francis Shurrock Shaping New Zealand Sculpture Mark Stocker Paperback, 112 pages, illustrated, $29.95 Published October 2000

Associated Event: Francis Shurrock exhibition … Robert McDougall Art Gallery, Christchurch, 6 October 2000 - 28 January 2001 … Hocken Gallery, Dunedin, 23 March - 6 April 2001


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