Peter O’Hagan will be remembered for his spontaneous, vibrant paintings in watercolour and gouache. An artist of international repute he travelled extensively throughout Europe capturing in paint his exotic adventures and epicurean journeys.
Born in Wellington in 1942, O’Hagan later attended the University of Auckland and graduated with a degree in Architecture in 1977. Whilst practicing as an architect in the Bay of Islands, he received tuition from notable New Zealand artists Patrick Hanly and Agnes Wood. It was Hanly who encouraged O’Hagan to relinquish his architectural career in order to pursue his long held desire to become an artist. Encouraged by Hanly, O’Hagan held his first solo exhibition aboard the liner QE2, which gave him the confidence to continue with his chosen vocation.
In 1992 O’Hagan held an exhibition of his Tahitian watercolours at the Gallerie Artiste on the Boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris. It was widely acclaimed in the French press and was a sell out.
Having spent a prolonged period of time painting abroad during the 1980s, O’Hagan settled in Australia, drawing on his travels as inspiration for his works. His early career as an architect and curator for the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, combined with his taste for the finer things in life, were elements that influenced his painting. In 1998, in recognition of his artistic talent, O’Hagan was appointed Artist in Residence at the prestigious Champagne House Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin. His base was the Widow Clicquot’s historic Manoir de Verzynear Reims.
In 2002 O’Hagan tragically lost his home and studio in the Canberra bush fires. This devastating loss was the catalyst for a period of extensive travel throughout Europe and in 2005 he completed a series of paintings based on his time abroad, particularly in the vineyards of France. Late in 2005 O’Hagan completed a commissioned painting for Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin. The painting specifically referenced the design of Christophe Pillet and Christian Lacroix who were responsible for the creation of a new modern look to celebrate the exceptional vintage; La Grande Dame. This painting hangs in the La Grande Dame room at Veuve Clicquot’shead office in Reims.
Peter exhibited at home in Auckland and at other leading galleries in London, Paris, Melbourne and Sydney. His work has been purchased for leading corporate collections including Air New Zealand, Hyatt Hotels, the Hotel de Crillon (Paris), Champagne Comtes de Dampierre, Venice Simplon Orient Express, The Government of Macau and of course, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin.
Peter O’Hagan died in Sydney in March 2013.