Theo Schoon and the case of the Pink Venus De Milo
Theodorus Johannes Schoon (1915–1985) was a pioneering painter, printmaker, photographer, gourd and jade carver, and ceramicist. A Dutchman, born and raised in Indonesia, he arrived in Aotearoa in 1939, where he used his sense of difference and being out-of-place to make art that challenged Pākehā attitudes and cultural values. This article considers how Indonesian art and Dutch colonialism prepared Schoon for his encounter with Māori art, resulting in an extraordinary and complicated relationship that left its mark on the visual arts in Aotearoa.
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