LOT 004

1927 - 1977

Tobogganeers in High Park, Toronto
mixed media on board
initialed and dated 1970 and on verso titled
13 1/2 x 11 3/8 in, 34.3 x 28.9 cm

Estimate: $25,000 - $35,000 CAD

Sold for: $61,250

Preview at:

Acquired directly from the Artist by a Private Collection, Ottawa, circa 1970s
Sold sale of Important Canadian Art, Sotheby's Canada, May 24, 2000, lot 66
Private Collection, Toronto

When William Kurelek moved to Toronto in 1959, his life advanced both personally and professionally. He began working in the framing department of the Isaacs Gallery, where he was known for his fine craftsmanship. Meanwhile he continued with his painting, which he showed at Isaacs to great acclaim, with his first solo show occurring in 1960. Kurelek married Jean Andrews in 1962, and they had three children. The family lived in an apartment within walking distance of High Park, and Kurelek recounted that they would sometimes visit the zoo there. This high-spirited image of tobogganeers at High Park, likely Kurelek’s own children, recalls his depictions of young people playing in winter on the prairies in the Ukrainian farming communities where he grew up. In this work, the expressions of the children—excitement mixed with a degree of terror, as they launch into space over the edge of the snowdrift—are charmingly comical. The fineness of detail, bright light, rich colour and dramatic staging make this work a classic image by the artist.

This work is in the original frame made by Kurelek.

Estimate: $25,000 - $35,000 CAD

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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