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David Brown Milne

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

Lot # 132

David Brown Milne
CGP CSGA CSPWC 1882 - 1953 Canadian

Reflections I, Boston Corners, NY / Slate Hill and Green Fields (verso)
double-sided watercolour on paper
dated Sept. 26, 1916 / May 10, 1916 (verso)
15 3/8 x 19 1/2 pouces  39 x 49.5cm

Douglas Duncan Picture Loan Society, Toronto
Morris Gallery, Toronto, 1972
Damkjar-Burton Gallery, Burlington, Ontario, 1972
R.M. MacKenzie, St. Catherines, Ontario, 1972
Marlborough-Godard, Toronto
Acquired from the above by the present Private Collector, Toronto, 1976

Canadian Classics, Morris Gallery, 1972, reproduced
London Collects 2, London Art Gallery, 1976
Heather Bruce, The David Milne Cameo Exhibition, London Regional Art Gallery, 1982
David P. Silcox, Painting Place: The Life and Work of David B. Milne, 1996, page 127
David Milne Jr. and David P. Silcox, David B. Milne: Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings Volume 1: 1882 - 1928, 1998, reproduced page 176, catalogue #107.62, Slate Hill and Green Fields reproduced page 160, catalogue #107.1

Morris Gallery, Toronto, Canadian Classics, October 21 - November 4, 1972
London Art Gallery, London Collects 2, September 4 - 26, 1976, titled as Reflection, catalogue #29
London Regional Art Gallery, The David Milne Cameo Exhibition, July 16 - September 12, 1982, titled as Band of Reflections

This double-sided watercolour reveals much about Milne’s genius, most notably the rapidity of his aesthetic evolution when he was confronted with subjects with which he could fully engage. The earlier painting on verso, Slate Hill and Green Fields, dated May 10, 1916, is one of the first works that Milne executed in Boston Corners. Dissatisfied with his life in New York City, Milne had traveled to the area with his friend James Clarke to find a suitable rural setting which would provide good painting, yet be within easy reach of New York by railway. Boston Corners became the centre of Milne’s painting life immediately. Indeed, Milne was so eager to begin painting that he rented a house and moved in the same day, leaving it to his wife back in the city to gather their possessions for the move!

The bold use of colour and simple shapes, such as the contrasting tree silhouettes, continues the work that he had begun in New York, but the sheer visual punch of this early Boston Corners work suggests his exhilaration at his new subject matter. The subject is a pastoral one but the image scintillates visually. His skill at convincing us of the rightness of his vision is seen in the tree to the left, the branches of which change colour when they are seen against the open sky. Milne has used only four colours – grey, blue, green and black, together with the white of the paper – but the work is far from dull, being filled with a vital energy.

As Milne began to explore the area which was to be his home for the next two years, his approach to the use of watercolour also changed. A number of early New York works, of which The Defiant Maple, 1909 - 1910, is the most well known, suggest that Milne had long been fascinated with the subject of reflections, and Boston Corners allowed him access to a number of ponds, which enabled further exploration of the subject. The still surface of the water often mirrored perfectly the forms of the shore landscape, yet there were differences in texture. Milne experimented with ways to record this textural difference and began to use washes – both clear and tinted – on top of the water areas of his images. As he later wrote, “The adventure in these pool pictures was one of texture, of contrast between the harsh, clear-cut colour and line of trees and contours, and the intimate combination of the two in the reflections.” As the catalogue raisonné has noted, Reflections I, Boston Corners, NY, painted on September 26, 1916, is the earliest dated Boston Corners image which “uses a tinted wash.” The effects of this “intimate combination” of forms are both subtle and poetic. Always ready to challenge our assumptions visually, Milne has made the greater part of the reflection give us a view of the tops of the trees which are cut off on the shore. This idea of textural shift, which Milne would continue to elaborate on, produced some of his most beautiful watercolours – for example, Bishop’s Pond, 1916, in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada.

This double-sided painting encompasses, therefore, the beginnings of two vital aspects of Milne’s artistic career – the discovery of the landscape of the Boston Corners area as a new subject and the explorations of the pool pictures. It is a remarkable and important work for understanding Milne’s development as an artist.

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

Estimation: 30,000 $ ~ 50,000 $ CAN

S'est vendu pour: 198,900.00 $ CAN (prime d'achat incluse)

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