(b Taranaki, April 11, 1911; d 1998).
New Zealand painter . He resolved to become a painter in the early 1930s, when the influence of early modernism was only just beginning to trickle down to colonial New Zealand. He had little formal training, but early paintings such as Artist’s Wife (c. 1937; Auckland, C.A.G.) show the influence of Paul Cézanne, absorbed through reproductions. Similarly, the examples of R. N. Field, arriving from Europe, and Helen F. V. Scales (1887–1985), returning from there, were crucial. Field’s paintings released him from naturalistic colour, while Scales’s showed him how to deploy this released colour for spatial effects.
From the 1950s Woollaston began to increase the scale of his paintings, developing the gestural and apparently spontaneous approach that marked his mature style. Dispensing with detail, his broad handling drew greater attention to the logic by which his paintings were constructed. In works such as Above Wellington (1.76×2.74 m, 1986...