Peter O’Hagan is certainly among New Zealand’s most successful artists. He is renowned for his spontaneous, vibrant paintings in watercolour and gouache. Most recently he has gained recognition as “artist in residence” at the prestigious Champagne house Veuve Clicquot. In July 1998 Peter travelled to France where he was invited to make his base at the Widow Clicquot’s historic Manoir de Verzy near Reims.
Living at the Manoir de Verzy Peter was able to experience first hand life on the vineyard and the beauty of the countryside as the seasons changed. During his residency, he also travelled to Italy and the South of France – an opportunity to revisit favourite painting spots such as Lake Como and Lake Maggiore, Portofino, Cannes and Nice.
Peter’s early career as an architect and his work as a curator for the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (at Highwic House in Auckland and Kemp House in Northland), together with his love for the “finer things” in life are all elements which influence his painting. Favourite subjects are lavish European interiors, still lifes and brightly coloured outdoor scenes.
As a student, Peter received tuition from notable New Zealand artists Patrick Hanly and Agnes Wood, indeed it was Hanly who encouraged him, in 1984, to relinquish his career as an architect in order to pursue his artistic career. Soon afterwards Peter held an highly successful exhibition aboard the liner QEII which encouraged him to continue with his chosen vocation and helped to establish his international reputation. Peter O’Hagan died in Sydney in March 2013.