Colin Wheeler 1919 -2012

One of North Otago’s most acclaimed artists, Colin Wheeler, died last week.

Born in Dunedin in 1919, he studied at the Canterbury School of Art and Camberwell School of Arts and Craft in London.

He moved to Oamaru in 1951 to work as art master at Waitaki Boys’ High School. Former pupils have very fond memories of his class.

I once had the privilege of visiting him in his home. He was a very modest man but his enthusiasm for his art and knowledge of the subjects he painted was inspirational.

His books of paintings of historic sheep stations which were first published in the 1960s were very popular and he has left a huge legacy of paintings of rural New Zealand.

His work also established a record of North Otago landscapes and buildings and an invaluable collection depicting Oamaru scenes. He gifted many of his paintings to the Forrester Gallery, some of which can be seen here.

His contribution to art was recognised with a Queens Service Medal.

The Artist’s Room also has examples of his work.

The Oamaru Mail pays tribute to him here and this website has more on his career.

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