In Wellington in the 1940s and 1950s, the centres of left-wing and modernist culture and discussion were Unity Theatre, Modern Books and the French Maid Coffee Bar on the corner of Willis Street and Lambton Quay. The coffee bar was run by Dick Singleton and exhibited works by New Zealand artists, including Colin McCahon. Rona Bailey remembered it as attracting 'a real circle of left, arts people, painters and such like drifting in and out'.
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