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The Robert Williamson Estate Collection of Sam Cairncross Works

We are delighted to feature The Robert Williamson Estate Collection of Sam Cairncross Works in our next Fine Art Auction on 11th & 12th August. The collection includes over 40 works by the Wellington artist including iconic street scenes, self portraiture, still life's & Wellington landscapes.

Sam Cairncross (1913-76) was a thirty-year-old porter at Wellington Hospital when he first began to paint in 1942. While his initial attempts were largely met with public disapproval within the essentially conservative artistic community of Wellington, Cairncross’ work captured the attention of the French Minister to New Zealand who subsequently offered him a French Government Scholarship to study at Andre Lhote art school, Paris. Whilst abroad he met & was strongly influenced by Georges Braque, Henry Moore & Jacob Epstein. From 1947 to his return to Wellington in 1948, Cairncross studied and travelled extensively absorbing the methods and techniques of his European contemporaries.

Despite his early conservative academic attempts, Cairncross swiftly developed his own unique unorthodox manner, focused on his love of vibrant colour applied in broad, vigorous brushstrokes. The resulting works are emotive, reflecting the primarily aim of art to depict his subjects in a sincere and honest manner.


His work features in numerous public collections including Te Papa Tongarewa, The Dowse, Christchurch Art Gallery, The Hocken & Alexander Turnbull Library.