Lot Sale Results

Christopher Pratt
Fall 2015 - 1st Session Live auction

Lot # 056

Christopher Pratt
ARCA CSGA OC 1935 - Canadian

In the Heat of Summer
oil on board
signed and dated 1990 and on verso signed, titled and dated September 1990 and titled and dated on the National Gallery of Canada label
40 x 90 in  101.6 x 228.6cm

Mira Godard Gallery, Toronto

Christopher Pratt, Christopher Pratt: Personal Reflections on a Life in Art, 1995, reproduced page 179
Josée Drouin-Brisebois, Christopher Pratt: All My Own Work, National Gallery of Canada, 2005, listed page 130 and reproduced page 25
Tom Smart, Christopher Pratt: Six Decades, Art Gallery of Sudbury, 2013, reproduced page 83

National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Christopher Pratt: All My Own Work, September 30, 2005 - January 8, 2006, traveling to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax; The Rooms, St. John's; the Winnipeg Art Gallery; and the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Quebec City, 2006 - 2007

Christopher Pratt is one of Canada’s most honoured and admired artists. The comprehensive exhibition of his paintings, drawings and prints that toured Canada in 2005 - 2007 - marking the artist’s 70th birthday - was testimony to the ongoing importance of his work and to his continuing creativity. The paintings In the Heat of Summer and The Island were included in that exhibition. Here again we have the opportunity to see one of these magnificent works and to ponder its evolution from preparatory studies.
Pratt’s work is systematic, as precise in its rendering as the artist is in observing his signature themes, especially the simple architectural forms of his native Newfoundland. For Pratt, buildings like the ones we see here are imbued with personality and emotion. They are, in effect, human. He reports in an interview conducted by the National Gallery of Canada that “buildings have personalities that resonate with me,” adding, “I tend to remember incidents in my life in terms of where they happened.” Characteristically direct as such statements are, we should never assume that Pratt’s paintings or drawings are as simple as they seem. Seeing studies and a final work together allows us to draw out the visual intricacies and mysteries of Pratt’s memorable view of architecture.
In the Heat of Summer, Summer Veranda - Study for In the Heat of Summer (lot 57) and Night Veranda - Study for The Island (lot 58), explore one of Pratt’s favourite subjects, the outsides or the faces of buildings. He works from memory rather than from photographs. In fact, we might say that his work is anti-photographic in the sense that he excludes much more than he conveys visually. While we might be tempted to say that these three works have the same subject, the subtle differences that we can observe across the paintings are of greater import and are closer to what Pratt aims to convey. For example, think of scale. In the Heat of Summer is very large, which magnifies its visual impact and thus allows it to deliver a different range of feelings than do the smaller works. Yet all three are delicately and subtly rendered. Think too of colour: seen on its own, In the Heat of Summer mirrors its title with its saturated reds, purples and browns. The shadows are bold, suggesting a strong sun. In the study for this large painting, however, Pratt withholds colour to focus on light and shade. In Night Veranda, the “same” building still “speaks” in these bold contrasts, suggesting that it is the play of shadows, rather than the time of day, that is for Pratt most characteristic of this structure and spot.
The apparent simplicity of Pratt’s paintings leads to their enigmatic qualities. Though clearly close relatives, the three works here do differ in the fullness of visual content that Pratt provides. In the Heat of Summer has a more fully realized personality, one suggested by the inclusion of a light socket over the prominent doorway, a socket that, we notice, has no bulb.
We thank Mark Cheetham, Professor of Art History at the University of Toronto, for contributing the above essay.

Estimate: $125,000 ~ $175,000 CAD

Sold For: $129,800.00 CAD (including buyer's premium)

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