W.H. Allen was an English born artist who migrated to New Zealand in 1925 with compatriot R. N. Field to teach at the Dunedin School of Art. The pair were recruited by the New Zealand Education Department under Superintendent Sanderson La Trobe. After a stint as art master at the Nelson College, Allen returned to England in the late 1930s and consequently his reputation as a teacher and artist have previously been overlooked.
This exhibition, which delves into Allen’s contribution to the emergence of early regionalism in this country, was made possible after a significant collection of Allen’s work was repatriated from the United Kingdom in 2008 and gifted to the Hocken. In addition to showcasing Allen’s practice this show includes works by his La Trobe peers, several of Allen’s students and a sample of work by the early twentieth century British artists associated with the Camden Town Group whose post-impressionist style and subject matter inspired Allen, his peers and a swathe of this country’s regionalist painters.
Text extracted from University of Otago Library website.