William George Baker

William George Baker (1864-1929) was born in Wellington and was a second generation New Zealander, his grandfather having come to New Zealand aboard the 'Lady Nugent' in 1840. He attended school in Wellington and originally worked as an upholsterer. Although there is no mention of any art training he was arguably one of the most prolific landscape artists of the late 19th and early 20th century. He began exhibiting in 1883 firstly with the Fine Arts Association and then the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts 1884-1904. His work was also seen at the Otago Arts Society from 1893-1898, the New Zealand Industrial Exhibition in 1885 and the St Louis Exposition USA 1904.

At the turn of the century he became a professional artist, touring the country seeking suitable subjects and painting a great deal in the Wairarapa and the Southern Lakes District.

Up until 1902 he had painted only in oils but after this he also painted in watercolours exhibiting at agricultural shows and holding auctions of his works in various towns. He lived the last 30 years of his life in Titahi Bay.

William George Baker has his work represented in the collections of numerous art galleries and museums in New Zealand including Auckland Art Gallery, Alexander Turnbull Library, Hocken Library, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Christchurch Art Gallery, Canterbury Museum, Waikato Museum of Art & History and the Rotorua Museum of Art and History and at the National Library of Australia in Canberra.