[Landscape with curved road and trees]

Landscape painted predominantly in mauve and green. A pale road, patterned with shadows of tall trees and bushes on left-hand side, begins lower left corner and curves to left at mid right margin. A "swirly" tree mid right. 

c. 1920 1929
Object type
Medium and materials
oil on canvas on prepared board
Place Made
New Zealand

LL soft black pencil Flora Scales

Verso Upper Centre attached photograph of original prepared board verso stamp detailing board sizes

Verso Centre attached photograph of LR corner of painting showing dark grey brush point Flora Scales (now obscured by framing mat)

Verso Lower Centre label Framed with Museum glass

Current Collection

Private Collection

Current Location

Wellington, New Zealand

General notes

The visible signature on this painting is similar to that of Untitled [CS Patrol] [BC122]. The photograph attached to the back of the painting provides proof of a now obscured signature. The current owner, as at 2019, brought this work from a second-hand shop in Johnsonville, Wellington, New Zealand, in the early 2000s. It was reframed in 2012.

Accompanying the painting was a newspaper cutting, New Zealand Herald, 9 January 1976, ‘Flora Scales Work on Show’ by T. J. McNamara and is a review of Helen F V Scales at Auckland City Art Gallery, 1975-1976.

The paint in this work is loosely applied and the rendering impressionistic. Similar "swirly" trees can be found in some later landscapes such as Untitled [Mediterranean Scene] [BC017].

In three of Scales’s early 1920s landscape paintings, Untitled [Landscape with curved road and trees] [BC121], Untitled [Nelson Farm Landscape] [BC127] and The Valley Road [BC139], a wide curved road leads deep into the middle distance on a strong left to right diagonal implying by its curve an eventual return towards the centre of the composition to balance the two point perspective. Shadows and the hazy blue distance of the atmospheric perspective contribute to the naturalism of the scene in keeping with the conventions of landscape painting in New Zealand at that time.

Taking heed of Hofmann’s theories, in her late 1930s Basilica series, Untitled [Mediterranean Scene] 1 [BC016], Mediterranean Village [BC019] and Basilica and Lighthouse, St Tropez, Southern France [BC021], Scales has adjusted the role of the curved path. Reduced in scale and curved towards the edge of her canvas it plays it’s part in the formal arrangement of colour, geometric planes and diverging diagonals to suggest the space and vitality of the scene without recourse to traditional rules of perspective.

The curved path is seen in later works such as St Michael [BC041] [c. 1958-1962] where, with the subtlety and sensitivity of her brush strokes and harmony of colour, Scales distills an expansive landscape to her small canvas, enhancing the grandeur of the scene.