Rita Angus and Douglas Lilburn

Behind the art and the music - floortalk in the gallery, Level 5

Sunday 30 March 2014, 4pm - 5pm

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Self portrait, 1947. Watercolour, 290 x 24mm. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, on loan from the Rita Angus Estate

This event is now fully booked.

In association with the play Rita and Douglas, which opens at Circa Theatre on April 2, join Jill Trevelyan and Dave Armstrong, in conversation, as they discuss two of New Zealand’s greatest twentieth-century artists and the challenges involved in bringing their wonderful words, images and music to the stage.

In 1941, a thirty-two-year-old, recently divorced painter, Rita Angus, met composer Douglas ‘Gordon’ Lilburn, seven years her junior, at the French Maid Coffee Shop in Lambton Quay. After a brief and ultimately tragic affair, the two, who were both vitally interested in art, music, literature and our national identity, became life-long friends. Though the friendship between the two temperamental artists was sometimes fractious, it endured throughout their lives.

You are a composer out of one-and-a-half million people. I have read that it takes about one million to produce one really outstanding person. … It is just as well you cannot see me now, for I am heart-broken. I am wondering what I shall do with the gap that you shall leave in my life.   Rita Angus, Letter to Douglas Lilburn, 1947

Jill Trevelyan was co-curator of the Te Papa exhibition Rita Angus: Life & Vision, and author of the award-winning, best-selling biography Rita Angus: An Artist’s Life.  Playwright and columnist Dave Armstrong adapted Rita Angus’ letters to Douglas Lilburn for Rita and Douglas which features Jennifer Ward-Lealand and Michael Houstoun. Dave is a former musician and played in the world premier of one of Douglas Lilburn’s chamber works, and briefly studied composition with him.

This event is now fully booked, to put your name on the waiting list please email friends@tepapa.govt.nz or phone the Friends office on (04) 381 7051