LOT 106

1871 - 1945

Tree Study
oil on paper on canvas, circa 1935
signed with the estate stamp and on verso signed by Max Stern and stamped with the estate stamp and Dominion Gallery on a label
18 x 12 in, 45.7 x 30.5 cm

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

Sold for: $43,250

Preview at:

Estate of the Artist
Dominion Gallery, Montreal
Private Collection, Victoria

Emily Carr depicted the forests of British Columbia for most of the later years of her life. Beginning in the late 1920s, when she took classes from the American painter Mark Tobey, Carr often painted nature in a minimalist manner. This meant that she reduced her colour palette dramatically. She often used only black pigment in her paintings of trees. In this work she employs minor touches of green and brown, but the major player is the black pigment, with a bold flourish of white pigment in an upper branch.

Carr emphasizes the natural energy of the tree through the bold tree trunk, topped by a rich crown of foliage. The verticality of the composition is accentuated by the upward thrust of the brush-strokes behind the trunk, the complex knot of foliage and the abrupt truncation of the treetop. Tree Study seems to burst off the sheet, suggesting that the energy of the tree cannot be contained. Here, Carr distills the life force of the tree and creates a simple but powerful image.

Please note there were two Emily Carr estate stamps. The National Gallery of Canada has the lower case stamp and the BC Archives has the upper case stamp in their collections. Lawren Harris used the upper case stamp (EMILY CARR) to stamp works before sending them to Dr. Max Stern of the Dominion Gallery, who handled the estate of Emily Carr. Dr. Stern had the lower case stamp (Emily Carr) at his gallery in Montreal.

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

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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