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Marcus King

Marcus King’s achievements across commercial and fine art, over 50 years from 1920 to 1970, are unmatched by any New Zealand artist. Arguably the country’s most viewed artist -exhibiting to a global audience in the millions - King captured the New Zealand landscape as a leading Impressionist painter and, as a commercial artist, branded the country as an alluring tourism utopia and productive agricultural and industrial paradise.

King’s vision was fresh, expansive and aspirational; a grand outlook grandly delivered, whether in bold Impressionist paintings or his arresting documentary and landscape murals, including The Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, one of New Zealand’s most recognisable and reproduced paintings. Driven by his relentless love of painting, King was a pioneer advocate for professionalising and popularising New Zealand art, and he undoubtedly shaped the country’s identity at a formative time.

Altogether, it would be reasonable to assume King’s story was well known. Yet, until now, his art and life have remained a mystery. Now is the hour for Marcus King, and for reconsidering his distinct fusion of art, design and advertising, and his significant contribution to New Zealand commerce and culture.
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About the Author

PETER ALSOP is a senior executive who has worked across the public and private sectors. He is a keen collector of New Zealand art, with particular interests in tourism publicity, hand-coloured photography and mid-century New Zealand landscape paintings - interests that have led him to pursue publications as a spare time passion. WARREN FEENEY has written on the visual arts for more than 25 years. He completed his PhD at the University of Otago in 2009 and contributes regularly to the Press, as well as arts publications such as Art News and eyecontactsite.com. Currently he is Adjunct Fellow in the School of Humanities at the University of Canterbury.

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