1920 - 2013
Study for Blue Jay and Cat
ink on paper
signed, dated 4 Jan. 92, 14 Jan. and inscribed variously and on verso titled and dated 14/01/1992 on a label
6 3/4 x 6 3/4 in, 17.1 x 17.1 cm
Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000
Sold for: $23,750
Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave
Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton
Collection of Peggy Marko, Edmonton
Philip Fry, Alex Colville: Paintings, Prints and Processes, 1983 - 1994, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1994, page 170, reproduced page 172, catalogue #32.06, and listed page 181, and related drawings catalogue #32.04 and #32.05 reproduced page 141
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Alex Colville: Paintings, Prints and Processes, September 30, 1994 - January 15, 1995, catalogue #32.06
Although Study for Blue Jay and Cat was not the basis for a painting or a print, Alex Colville worked on various elaborations of the idea of an interaction between a blue jay and a cat, and produced several versions of the cat hugging the tree trunk - changing the position of the cat and the direction the bird is flying. Colville also included the blue jay in the serigraph Artist and Blue Jay, in which the bird flies by in the window behind the artist while he shaves, positioned faced forward. Philip Fry writes that Blue Jay and Cat “Lies, not entirely dormant, as a latent interpretative dimension of Artist and Blue Jay…The cat, undistracted by the requirements of culture, has a keener, more immediate awareness than the artist with his razor.” Colville was a sensitive and empathetic observer of animals, and in this image the bird calls out, likely a raucous warning of the cat’s presence. The cat may be tempted to catch the bird but all its paws are engaged with clinging to the tree trunk; nevertheless its fascination with the bird in flight and its secret desire are clear in the intensity of its gaze. This is a beautifully rendered final stage acrylic and ink drawing, including sightlines, and is finely developed.
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