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David Brown Milne

David Brown Milne
L'automne 2010 - 2e séance Vente en salle

Lot # 133

David Brown Milne
CGP CSGA CSPWC 1882 - 1953 Canadian

Green Hillside, Boston Corners, NY
oil on canvas
signed and dated May 9, 1920 and on verso titled on the Marlborough-Godard label
18 x 22 pouces  45.7 x 55.9cm

Marlborough-Godard, Toronto
Acquired from the above by the present Private Collector, Toronto, 1976

David Milne Jr. and David P. Silcox, David B. Milne: Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings Volume 1: 1882 - 1928, 1998, reproduced page 280, catalogue #201.92

One of the most striking aspects of David Milne’s artistic career is the way that two radically different media can parallel, complement or transform each other as he worked concurrently. Between December of 1918 and August of 1919, Milne, working as an artist for the Canadian War Records program, produced a remarkable group of over 100 watercolours. Often working at great speed, Milne was forced to adapt his use of watercolour, and evolved an approach which used very little water. These dry-brush images transformed his work on paper. When Milne returned to North America and his home in Boston Corners, New York, he sought to bring this approach to painting watercolours into his work with oil paint. Not surprisingly, the earliest oils produced upon his return to Boston Corners are quite similar to the last works which he produced before his military service. Gradually, however, the spare quality of the line, which he developed during his time in Europe, began to inform his oil paintings. The brush was used as a drawing tool, and although colour and texture remained of great importance to Milne, he eschewed painterly flourishes such as heavy impasto. The landscape around Boston Corners continued to inspire him, as it had done before the war, but he now saw it more analytically. This series of paintings are amongst Milne’s most intimate and evocative depictions of the landscape.

Works such as Green Hillside, Boston Corners, NY might be said to have been more drawn than painted, but this is in no way a bad thing. Milne’s technique allowed him to use colour and line in subtle and delicate ways. While the subject, a house set in a wooded area at the foot of a rocky, sparsely wooded hillside with the sky above, is quite simple, the image Milne has produced is an immensely complex one. Never an artist to shy away from aesthetic adventure, Milne has presented himself with a remarkable series of challenges. Firstly, he used a very small palette of colours – blue, green, brown, grey and the white of the canvas primer – to depict everything – rock, foliage, branches, house and sky. Secondly, his application of the paint is remarkably consistent, despite the considerable variations of texture and form that these objects would have in the real world. In other words, he has employed great artifice to depict the natural world. Finally, he has chosen a subject which, when one describes it, seems to hold relatively little visual interest.

It is a measure of his skill that, despite imposing dramatic restrictions on himself, he has produced a visually rich and vibrant depiction of the landscape which delights the eye. The image is busy, but never frantic, and quiet, but never still. The eye moves from one patch of colour and texture to another and gradually we see the topography of the hillside, the patterns of the trees and the shape of the compositional space emerge. It is a painting that arrests our attention quickly, but reveals richness and subtlety the longer we look.

On the verso of this work is a graphite drawing of a Boston Corners landscape.

The consignor will donate the proceeds from the sale of this work to Canadian charities.

Estimation: 70,000 $ ~ 90,000 $ CAN

S'est vendu pour: 280,800.00 $ CAN (prime d'achat incluse)

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