LOT 029

1919 - 2020

Canyon Wall
oil on board, circa 1951
signed and on verso titled on a label
47 1/2 x 11 1/2 in, 120.6 x 29.2 cm

Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000 CAD

Sold for: $22,500

Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave

Private Collection, Toronto

Denise Leclerc, The Crisis of Abstraction in Canada: The 1950s, National Gallery of Canada, 1992, page 182
Ian M. Thom and Andrew Hunter, Gordon Smith: The Act of Painting, Vancouver Art Gallery, 1997, page 18, the 1951 canvas Vertical Abstraction reproduced page 67

In 1951 Gordon Smith attended the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco, where he painted under Elmer Bischoff. This proved to be a pivotal point in his career at a time when Abstract Expressionism galvanized the scene, and Smith was swept up into the excitement of this liberating movement. Denise Leclerc writes that “Bischoff’s classes together with Clyfford Still’s compelling presence on the scene drove Smith to undertake works in which the handling of the paint and the very act of painting were the ultimate reasons for creating.” Smith was galvanized by his experience of Bischoff’s experimental approach – he declared, “It was a real shock treatment…At the time it was absolutely new and a revelation.” From then on, the paint on the canvas would be as important as the subject for Smith. Canyon Wall is an outstanding example of Smith’s abstract work from this crucial time. It is very similar to the 1951 canvas Vertical Abstraction, which was included in the prestigious 1992 - 1993 National Gallery of Canada exhibition The Crisis of Abstraction in Canada: The 1950s.

Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000 CAD

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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