In Short II
Theo Schoon Damian Skinner ( Massey University Press, $ 59.99)
Theo Schoon was for a long time recognised more for his wide influence than for his considerable achievement as an artist. In recent years, the latter has caught up with the former and this biography will further that assessment. A keen observer of the world around him, Schoon was twice removed from any sense of belonging in New Zealand, being of Dutch parentage and having spent formative years in the Dutch East Indies. An early adopter and adapter of Māori forms, his creative eye seems always to have seen things through an anthropological filter. He had what tends to be called a “difficult” personality, reflecting his singleness of vision and determination to follow his own path. This is an exhaustive, densely written account of a brilliant individual.