Theo Schoon (1915 – 1985) was born at Kebumen, Java in the East Indies. Theo lived in Java with his parents and brother before being sent to the Netherlands for his education. He attended the Rotterdam Academy of Fine Arts and also travelled widely in Europe. In 1936 he returned to Java and set up an art studio. In 1939, with the war looming, he and his parents emigrated to New Zealand.
While his art school training was conservative, Schoon knew about the Bauhaus, a German art and design school that revolutionised twentieth-century art. The Bauhaus taught that divisions between art and craft were illusory, and both were equally valid artistic expressions. This idea influenced Schoon for his whole artistic life and gave him the freedom to experiment in many media including drawing, printmaking, painting, wood carving, potting, stone carving, jewellery-making and photography.
In 1968 he purchased jade or greenstone samples for carving experiments. Showing obvious skill, he was offered, and accepted, employment with the Westland Greenstone Company in Hokitika in 1970. While living on the West Coast he received a grant from the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council of New Zealand, which enabled him to research jade carving in Hong Kong. The photos for sale are from this trip.
Schoon’s charismatic personality, his desire to experiment in a range of media and to interact with Maori art and culture were a stimulus for other artists. Knowledgeable, committed and technically skilled, he occupies a significant place in New Zealand art.
Image Dimensions: 148mm W x 192mm H