Genre: Fine Art
Country of Origin: New Zealand
Sir Mountford Tosswill "Toss" Woollaston (1910–1998) was one of the most important New Zealand painters of the 20th century.
Born in Toko, Taranaki on April 11, 1910, Woollaston studied art at the Canterbury School of Art in Christchurch. He became interested in modernism after moving to Dunedin to study with R N Field.
In 1934 he settled at Mapua, near Nelson, and married Edith Alexander two years later. They became part of a circle of local artists and writers which including Colin McCahon. After World War II the Woollastons moved to Greymouth, and the landscape of the West Coast became a major feature in his art.
It was only from the 1960s that Woollaston was able to paint full-time; previously he had taken numerous part time jobs to support himself and his family.
As well as painting, Woollaston wrote, poetry in particular having been a lifelong passion. His books included The Far-away Hills in 1960, and Sage Tea (his autobiography) in 1980.
He was made a Knight Bachelor in 1979, being the first New Zealander to be knighted for his services to art.
Woollaston died in Upper Moutere on August 30, 1998.