LOT 125

1871 - 1945

Forest Interior
oil on paper on board
signed and on verso titled Forest Interior (Stanley Park) and dated circa 1934 on the gallery label
22 x 34 in, 55.9 x 86.4 cm

Estimate: $250,000 - $350,000 CAD

Sold for: $511,250

Preview at:

Private Collection, Victoria
Masters Gallery Ltd., Calgary
Private Collection, Vancouver

Emily Carr, Hundreds and Thousands: The Journals of Emily Carr, 1966, page 136

My new sketches thrill me a bit, sort of exhilarate me when I look up at them, and a joy to work on. The job is to keep the praise in them bursting, rising, passing through the material and going beyond and carrying you with it.

—EMILY CARR, June 23, 1934

At the end of the 1920s, Emily Carr sought a new means to record what she observed within the natural world of British Columbia. She wanted a sketching method that would allow her to portray the vivid natural world she so admired in a way that was more convincing than her traditional sketching medium, watercolour. Carr, however, had a problem. She was not a well-to-do woman and could not afford to use canvases for her outdoor sketches.

By the beginning of the 1930s, she seems to have abandoned watercolour as a sketching medium in favour of oil on paper. Carr generally did not date her oil on paper works, and therefore we do not have an exact date for when she started to use the medium for her work done in the field. Oil paint on paper had several advantages for Carr. The paper itself was inexpensive, and she could dilute her paint with gasoline so she could use it much like watercolour. This economical method allowed Carr to visually explore the forests of BC without much consideration of expense. Plus, this sketching method was easily portable and allowed her to work on site within the forests she loved so well.

Forest Interior is a wonderful example of her direct approach to the landscape of BC. The whole composition is animated by swooping brush-strokes that enliven both the forest and the moss-covered forest floor. Carr closely examined the natural world, and her vision allows us to appreciate a forest landscape illuminated by an unseen sun. The fact that Carr has included shadows at the base of several of the trees gives this landscape a greater sense of vitality and allows it to open visually. A highlighted group of background trees, just to the left of the centre, expands the composition into the distance. The forest is rich in colour, form and light, alive and vividly presented.

In Carr’s distinctive vision, far from a dull expanse of foliage, Forest Interior is a landscape animated by the sweeping forms of the forest in the background and the writhing forms of the mossy foreground. The openness of the forest floor enables Carr to make the background of trees denser and more of an animated screen. Carr depicts a natural world that is far from still. Forest Interior shimmers with life, reflecting Carr’s deep appreciation for the landscape of her native province.

Estimate: $250,000 - $350,000 CAD

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information posted, errors and omissions may occur. All bids are subject to our Terms and Conditions of Business. Bidders must ensure they have satisfied themselves with the condition of the Lot prior to bidding. Condition reports are available upon request.