Raymond McIntyre

Raymond McIntyre

New Zealand (1879 - 1933)

Raymond Francis McIntyre was a New Zealand artist and art critic, best known for his superb painting and acute awareness of contemporary trends in European art of the early twentieth century. McIntyre was born in Christchurch in 1879. He was the son of Canadian-born George McIntyre, a surveyor, and his wife, Julia Sophia Margaret Smith, a magistrate’s daughter from Tasmania. The musical and artistic McIntyre family lived in central Christchurch, and later in the suburb of New Brighton.

McIntyre was educated at Warwick House School until the age of 15, when he went to the Canterbury College School of Art as an evening student. There he continued studying, with intermittent breaks, under Alfred Walsh and Robert Herdman-Smith until 1908. By this stage he was teaching still-life and figure drawing to junior classes at the school. He won a prize for the best set of drawings from the full figure in 1899, and the silver medal for a colour study of a head painted from life in 1900. Progressive local painters formed a sketch club about 1905, and McIntyre was quick to join. Sydney Thompson, who had recently returned from four years’ studying and working in Europe, was also a member and the group met regularly at his studio in Cambridge Terrace.

In 1909 he moved to England determined to further his artistic studies. In London he was taught by George Lambert (1873 – 1930), William Nicholson (1872 – 1949), and Walter Sickert (1860 – 1942).  During this time he often travelled between London and Paris, becoming heavily involved in creative circles.

McIntyre became active in London’s artistic, literary, musical and theatrical circles. He exhibited frequently over the next decade, especially at the Goupil Gallery Salon, the leading international gallery in London at the time. His work diversified in content to include street scenes, a subject McIntyre shared with the Camden Town Group, though his techniques differed greatly from these artists. From late 1920 he also began to paint rivers and parks. He continued exhibiting at the Goupil Gallery Salon and finally had a painting accepted for exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1924. He ceased to exhibit his work after 1926 although he still painted for his own enjoyment.

McIntyre had a multidisciplinary career as an artist and writer, exploring  painting, printmaking, and photography. He found great success as a critical writer, reviewing art, theatre, and music, most notably as a regular contributor to the Architectural Review; a London based periodical which has been in publication since 1896. McIntyre died in London on 24 September 1933.

An expatriate artist, Raymond McIntyre attracted limited attention in New Zealand during his lifetime. Although his work was shown at the National Centennial Exhibition of New Zealand Art in 1940, it was not until several decades after his death that his achievements were fully recognised. Colin McCahon was a key figure in this process: in 1962 he helped organise an exhibition at the Auckland City Art Gallery, ‘Six New Zealand expatriates’, which included 12 of McIntyre’s paintings. In 1984–85 the same gallery organised a retrospective of McIntyre’s work.

Paintings by Raymond McIntyre are included in prominent public collections, including The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, The Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū , and The Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.

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