Born in Auckland in 1903, Chales Tole was part of the initial wave of modernist innovation in New Zealand. A self-taught artist, Tole began painting in the 1930s, and was influenced by the cubism of John Weeks and the modernist style of his brother John, also a painter. Tole’s practice focused predominantly on landscape and urban scenes, to which he applied his understanding of not only the innovations of Picasso and Braque, but also of Cezanne’s approach to rendering form. Like Cezanne, Tole approaches the landscape or urban environment as a series of interlocking volumes that fill the picture plane. Tole’s approach to colour is likewise typical of the pre-war modernism of his cubist forebears, with heightened, non-naturalistic hues that emphasise his angular approach to shape and light. Tole continued to paint throughout his life, exhibiting with Peter McLeavey Gallery in 1982 at the age of seventy-nine.