In Short II

North & South - - Opinion -

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.

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