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Art Deco textile designer honoured

One of Avis Higgs' watercolour and ink works, Andermatt, Switzerland, 1951

Press release - 6 March 2006

Art Deco textile designer honoured

Wellington artist Avis Beere, 87, has been awarded the Governor-General Art Award 2006 as part of the Festival Exhibition at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts. Mrs Beere, who paints under her maiden name, Higgs, is listed on an Australian Government website as one of four "key historical figures" in Australian design. She was head designer for Silk and Textile Printers in Sydney, a company known for its innovative Art Deco designs, in the 1940s. She later sailed to England where she worked as a textile designer in London and Manchester but was seriously injured in a fatal road accident on the outskirts of Rome in 1951.

After a long recuperation, she returned to New Zealand and took up painting. Avis's father, Sydney Higgs, was a respected patent attorney in Wellington and an accomplished watercolourist in his spare time. Both Avis and her father served on the council of the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts. Avis was married to architect Jock Beere whose sister, Valerie Beere, was a well-known portrait painter. The Avis Higgs retrospective is on at the Academy Galleries, 1 Queens Wharf until Sunday, March 19.


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