Painting, 'White Iris' diptych; Stevens, Elizabeth; 1988; ESC.95.007


Painting, 'White Iris' diptych

About this object

This diptych is by artist Elizabeth Stevens (1923-2008). The abstract checkered patterns incorporated into 'White Iris', were a feature of a number of her works, though she was intensely versatile with her style and subject matter.

Completed in 1988, ‘White Iris’ was painted at a time when her artistic career was “overshadowed by illness, as both she and her husband had cancer...still she has painted, and there is rather more overt spirituality in many of the works of this period.” Liz Kempthorne, Elizabeth Stevens: A Survey (NZ: Eastern Southland Gallery, 1997).

Stevens is quoted as saying, “most of my work is simply a search for order; trying to find some kind of ‘shape’ and pattern to all the perceptions one receives; therefore it doesn’t matter to me whether I paint hills or shells or roses or imagined interest spaces.”

Artist Biography:
Elizabeth was a prolific creator in her 40 year artistic career that began at age 39, and is known to have created over 750 works. She has been exhibited in over 30 exhibitions and is most well known in Otago where her works are recognised as an original and enduring take on abstraction.

Born in Woodend, near Invercargill in 1923, Elizabeth Stevens studied under R.N Field, Gordon Tovey and Harry Miller at the Dunedin School of Art and Dunedin Teachers College from 1942-1944. Based in Alexandra, Central Otago from 1946 she started painting seriously around 1962. She has participated in numerous group and national exhibitions plus solo shows in Invercargill, Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington. Awards include the Caltex Award—New Zealand Academy of Fine Art 1980 and the Otago Art Society Centennial Award 1976.


Stevens, Elizabeth

Maker Role


Date Made




Medium and Materials

organic, vegetal, processed materials, wood
inorganic, processed materials, pigments, acrylic pigments

Place Made

Oceania, New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Alexandra


h 780mm x w 490mm x d 16mm framed each

Subject and Association Keywords

Art and Design

Subject and Association Keywords

Plants (flora)

Object Type


Object number



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