LOT 163

William Percival (W.P.) Weston
ARCA BCSFA CGP RBA
1879 - 1967
Canadian

Arbutus
oil on canvas, 1943
signed and on verso signed and titled
30 x 37 in 76.2 x 94 cm

Estimate: $40,000 - $60,000

Preview at: Heffel Vancouver

PROVENANCE
Estate of the Artist, Vancouver
Sold sale of Fine Canadian Art, Heffel Fine Art Auction House, May 25, 2005, lot 124
Private Collection, USA

LITERATURE
Ian M. Thom, W.P. Weston, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, 1980, pages 9 and 13

EXHIBITED
British Columbia Society of Fine Arts, Vancouver, 33rd Annual Exhibition, 1943, catalogue #65
Vancouver Art Gallery, W.P. Weston, 1946, catalogue #55


W.P. Weston often painted trees, admiring their resilience and character. He stated that “all these forms have been affected by and moulded by the elements – wind, rain, frost and snow in one way or another, e.g.,…changes in structure in living forms. The study of this is most interesting and has been the main force behind all my drawings and paintings.” The arbutus tree, a distinctive West Coast broadleaf evergreen that often grows on sea bluffs, has the resilience to survive harsh climatic conditions. Clinging to rough terrain and searching for sunlight cause its unique gnarled growth patterns. The tree may even allow part of itself to die during drought. It does, however, store water in burls, which Weston has shown at the base of the trees.
This work is typical of Weston’s mature style, which, as Ian Thom writes, “owes more to the design motifs of art nouveau/deco, Japanese pattern books and Weston himself than to artists in the east…[and shows] the use of heavy opaque brush-strokes, a ‘cool, palpitating and luminous’ use of colour, a strong sense of mass and a linear, decorative design.” In this vigorous painting, Weston used the shadows of the branches on the carpet of moss like reflections in water, delighting in the sculptural shapes. The distinctive orange-red of the smooth trunks stands in dramatic contrast to the green around it. Weston has clearly shown us the powerful life force of this arbutus grove, a classic symbol of the West Coast.


Estimate: $40,000 - $60,000

All prices are in Canadian Dollars


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