Lot # 160
L'automne 2012 - 2e séance Live auction
BCSFA RCA 1871 - 1945 Canadian
Frivolous September ~ Up the Gorge (Blue Sky and Forest)
oil on paper on board circa 1939
34 3/4 x 22 1/2 pouces 88.3 x 57.1cm
Acquired directly from the Artist by Dr. Charles H. Best and Mrs. Margaret Mahon Best, Toronto, June 1944 for $5
By descent within the family of the above, Ontario
The Diary of Margaret Mahon Best, Volume XXII: Visit on Tuesday 4 July 1944 to Miss Emily Carr, Victoria, BC, titled and listed page 3, item #4
Emily Carr, Hundreds and Thousands, The Journals of Emily Carr, 2006, pages 405 and 409
In September of 1939, Emily Carr was staying in a one-room shack on Craigflower Road belonging to a woman named Mrs. Shadford, in an area of Victoria known as The Gorge. We know based on Mrs. Best's diary that this work was painted there. Accompanying Carr were her dogs, a bird and Florence, a young maid who kept the camp in order. Carr spent two weeks painting here, and described the cabin as “very cosy, set upon a ridge among unspoiled trees, tall firs, little pines, scrub, arbutus bushes and maples. It is filled with great peace.” Although the noises of the Victoria highway, boats and nearby habitations could be heard, they were at a distance, filtered by the forest. On a greater scale, Carr was keenly aware that beyond this oasis of tranquility was a world at war. Thus it was that she felt this peace with such poignancy. Here the shadow of war held no sway, although she was disturbed by the news of it. It is perhaps this awareness that led to the Frivolous September part of the title.
Emily Carr’s experience of nature was elemental - in that she perceived the fundamental energies present in nature - as well as emotional and spiritual. She gave herself up to nature as she sat in the woods waiting for her vision to crystallize, then plunged forward with her brush to put down on paper in sweeping brush-strokes what was revealed to her. At the time of her oil on paper paintings in the 1930s, there was no struggle or disconnection between Carr and her work - she felt utterly free to express herself. She sought a sense of exaltation, clearly expressed in light-filled and joyous works such as Frivolous September - Up the Gorge (Blue Sky and Forest). She was aware of the dances of tender young trees, of growth reaching up to the sky and the pulse of life that connected everything.
Regarding this location, Carr wrote eloquently in her journal in Hundreds and Thousands on September 24 before her departure the next day, “The woods are trembling under the glow of autumn. There is a still, vibrating quiver, moist and luminous, over everything, as incongruous as a ‘slow-hurry’. Summer is lingering, winter pushing, and autumn standing contemplative, impatient to get to winter, yet reluctant to leave summer.” In Frivolous September - Up the Gorge (Blue Sky and Forest), Carr builds up rhythm as she lifts her eyes up the hill to the sky, layer upon layer undulating, from the foreground vegetation tinged with warm fall colour to the trees and then a whirling sky. Everything about this painting is light, playful and rapturous, nature as a haven and refreshment for the soul.
In 1944, Surgeon~Captain Charles H. Best, Mrs. Margaret Mahon Best and her sister, Linda Mahon, visited Carr’s Victoria studio on St. Andrews Street. Dr. Best was one of Canada’s best~known scientists, the co~discoverer of insulin, head of the Banting and Best Department of Medical Research at the University of Toronto, director of the Canadian Navy medical research unit and an inventor. Their introduction to Carr had come through her friend Ira Dilworth, who acted as an editor for Carr’s literary work and was the eventual co~executor for her estate. Margaret Best was thrilled to meet Carr, and related in her diary that she was “delightfully humorous and amusing. We had a grand visit.” After considering quite a few works, the Bests determined to acquire five for their collection. Margaret Best told Carr, “I am sure you don’t like to see them go,” to which Carr replied, “I don’t mind, when they are going to people who will love them.”
643,500 $ CAN (prime d'achat incluse)
Tous les prix sont en dollars canadiens.
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