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LOT 139

Frank Hans (Franz) Johnston
ARCA CSPWC G7 OSA
1888 - 1949
Canadian

Gilbert LaBine Discovers Pitchblende, May 16, 1930
oil on board
signed and on verso titled
25 x 30 in 63.5 x 76.2 cm

Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000

Sold for: $31,250

Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave

PROVENANCE
Acquired directly from the Artist by Gilbert A. LaBine, Toronto
By descent within the family to the present Private Collection, Ontario

LITERATURE
Franz Johnston to Gilbert LaBine, March 18, 1939


This painting by Franz Johnston commemorates prospector Gilbert LaBine’s 1930 discovery of a rich vein of pitchblende, now known as uraninite, in the Northwest Territories. Initially prized for the cobalt, silver and radium that could be refined from it, this ore would eventually alter LaBine’s fortune, along with the fate of the world. One of the by-products of pitchblende’s refinement is uranium, then relatively valueless. However, the escalation of World War II and the race to produce the first atomic bomb led to a surge in uranium’s value and, in turn, the nationalization of LaBine’s mine and ultimately the Allied victory in 1945. In parallel with these historic events, LaBine arranged for artists such as Johnston and A.Y. Jackson to be flown to his Eldorado mine, located near Great Bear Lake, and the works they produced there constitute important segments of their artistic production. In a letter dated March 18, 1939, written to LaBine while on one of these excursions, Johnston remarked on the beauty of the area, describing “clear sparkling skies of blue that are never the same shade.”


Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000

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.