Rita Angus is one of New Zealand’s most iconic artists.
Over the course of her life she produced a remarkable body of drawings, watercolours, and paintings. A committed feminist, and a pacifist, Angus’ work was deeply entwined with her view of the world. In her portraits and landscape paintings, with their distinctive clear colours and flat, graphic style, she created a unique image of 20th-century Aotearoa.
Te Papa have created a stunning collection of bags/purses featuring her iconic work. This clutch bag depicts the image from the painting "The Aviatrix".
This painting showed Rita Angus’s sister Edna dressed in a flying suit, cap and goggles. Edna learned to fly in the early 1930s, while living in Napier and working for her father’s construction business. She was the first woman member of the East Coast Aero Club to hold a pilot’s license.
This painting brilliantly conveys the modernity of its subject. Angus has chosen a simple, stark composition, with a minimal but very striking use of colour. The aviatrix looks out at the viewer with a direct regard – conveying the power and possibility of life as a modern woman.
Back of the purse has the inscription "Everything I paint has the sense of being alive"