Lois White

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Anna Lois White (2 November 1903 – 13 September 1984), known in the art world as Lois (pronounced Loyce) White,[1] was a New Zealand painter of the modernist school. She taught at the Elam Art School of the University of Auckland from 1927[2] until 1963.

Early life[edit]

White was the youngest of four children of Auckland architect Arthur Herbert White and Annie White (Phillips). Her maternal grandfather ran W. Phillips & Sons, an importer of prints and artists' materials. She attended Epsom Girls' Grammar School from 1919-1922, excelling at all subjects, moving on to study at Elam in 1923.


In 1927 she became a part-time tutor at Elam, teaching the junior drawing classes, while at the same time taking a part-time position teaching art at Takapuna Grammar School. From 1934 she was full-time at Elam until her retirement in January 1963.

Her career as a painter continued in concurrently with her teaching career, being accepted as a full "Working Member" of the Auckland Society of Arts in 1931 and exhibiting regularly with the Society.

Lois was one of the founders of the New Group in 1948, a somewhat conservative group of artists concentrating on traditional form and draughtsmanship, somewhat in opposition to younger artists of the time who were pursuing modernist and abstract forms.[3] She continued to be viewed as a somewhat conservative artist, even in her own opinion, until her work was reappraised through solo exhibitions in 1977 and (after her death) 1994.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bell, Leonard: "A conversation with Lois White", Art New Zealand 18, Summer 1981 (full article is here)
  • Dunn, Michael: New Zealand Painting: a concise History. Auckland University Press, 2003, p 88-89, 112.
  • Finlayson, Claire: This thing in the mirror: self portraits by New Zealand artists. Nelson N.Z. Craig Potton Publishing, 2004, p 108-110, 130.
  • Green, Nicola: By the Waters of Babylon: The Art of A. Lois White. Auckland, N.Z.: Auckland City Art Gallery: David Bateman, 1993.
  • Green, Nicola: "Giotto meets Deco: A New Perspective on A. Lois White", Art New Zealand 60, Spring 1991.
  • King, Julkie: "By the Waters of Babylon: The Art of A. Lois White", Art New Zealand 73, Summer 1994-95.


  1. ^ http://www.artdeco.org.nz/page43.htm
  2. ^ Thwaites, Ian & Fletcher, Rie We Learnt to See: Elam's Rutland Group 1935-1958, Puriri Press, 2004. ISBN 0-908943-27-X
  3. ^ Green, Nicola. "White, Anna Lois 1903 - 1984". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 5 April 2011. 

External links[edit]