1920 - 1998
crayon, pencil, ink crayon and pastel on paper, circa 1994 - 1996
30 x 4 x 4 in, 76.2 x 10.2 x 10.2 cm
Estimate: $20,000 - $25,000 CAD
Sold for: $18,750
Collection of Leona Lattimer, Vancouver
Private Collection, Vancouver
Bill Reid deplored the worn-out-looking chimney/smoke stack of the E.B. Eddy Match factory that stood next to the new and elegant National Museum of Man (before it changed its name to the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and now known as the Canadian Museum of History) in Hull, that had been designed by Indigenous Canadian architect, Harold Cardinal. Not lacking in a sense of humour, Bill Reid had an idea on how to fix the problem while satisfying his artistic impulses.
Eventually, half-serious and half-dreamer, and probably more of the second, Bill Reid plotted a far-fetched project of transforming the chimney into a totem pole.
In the early to mid-90’s, Bill Reid tried to portray or render an idea that he had shared with Dr. George MacDonald, who was then the director of the Canadian Museum of Civilization - to paint the smoke stack as a totem pole! That would actually make it the tallest totem pole in the world. Suddenly, the studio was filled with cardboard tubular structures of different diameters and heights to satisfy his creative impulse. Totem poles grew out of cardboard tubes, and tubes were made and wrapped with white drawing paper on which Reid drew a totem pole with color crayons and/or pastel.
Reid used a tubular cardboard covered with light cream color drawing paper. Over a light wash of light skin colored paper, Reid used black pencil, charcoal, pastel, color crayon, black ink and watercolor for his Haida totem pole on paper. Unfortunately, this time, his fascinating idea did not materialize.
This trompe l’oeil totem pole is enclosed in a glass tube cut to length by Canadian Scientific Glass (Richmond) with the participation of glass artist John Nutter (Glass Studio, on Granville Island). The totem was installed on a rotating wooden base (made by Doug Warren at the Woodshop on Granville Island), so the designs covering the whole inside of the cylindrical tube can be seen when the tube is rotated.
The designs on the tube depict, from top to bottom: Watchmen, a male face, frog, eagle, killer whale, side view of a Watchman, the Weeping Woman of Tanu (tears are small humans), frog in the belly of Weeping Woman of Tanu, bird with killer whale in belly, possible human, killer whale, close-up of the tears of the Weeping Woman of Tanu, seated small man and a frog profile.
We thank Dr. Martine Reid, CEO, William Reid Ltd. and Bill Reid Estate, for contributing the above essay.
1. Iljuwas: Kihlguula Kil ‘Yuwans-Bill Reid: To Speak With A Golden Voice, Bill Reid Gallery, 2021, page 44
Leona Lattimer was not only one of the leading gallerists in Vancouver, she was also instrumental in building the Northwest Coast Indigenous art market. In 1976, she was named manager of the Museum of Vancouver giftshop and quickly turned it into the highest-grossing giftshop in Canada. She outgrew her position at the museum by the early 1980s and opened the Leona Lattimer Gallery in 1986, just in time for Expo 86. Her gallery quickly became the prime destination in the Pacific Northwest for authentic, collectible Indigenous art.
Leona passed away on Saturday June 25, 2022 in Vancouver, BC. Leona and her husband David Lattimer lived all over BC, including many small communities where they made long-lasting friendships. Through her relationships with Indigenous artists throughout BC, she was able to help create the thriving Northwest Coast Indigenous art market we know today. The hundreds of artists and thousands of customers Leona met and worked with were her true passion, and were what helped form the lifelong friendships she had.
Over the decades, Leona collected pieces herself. These were exceptional artworks that both met her discriminating standards and spoke to her refined aesthetic taste. Works from the collection of Leona Lattimer were acquired from the artists directly. To own an artwork from the Leona Lattimer Collection is to own a piece of Vancouver history.
The glass tube is 32 1/2 inches high, and the base is 4 x 8 inches. The total height of the work including the base is 36 inches.
All prices are in Canadian Dollars
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