Prairie Hills 6/77
acrylic on canvas, 1977
on verso signed, titled and inscribed "Banff"
55 x 90 in, 139.7 x 228.6 cm
Estimate: $40,000 - $60,000
Sold for: $58,250
Webster Galleries, Calgary
BP Canada, Calgary
Sold sale of Post-War & Contemporary Art, Heffel Fine Art Auction House, Wednesday, May 25, 2016, lot 73
Private Collection, Vancouver
While he was head of the art department and artist-in-residence at the Banff School of Fine Arts from 1973 to 1980, Takao Tanabe, confronted by the open, empty expanse of the prairie landscape, responded by painting an extensive series based on this subject. In the 1950s and 1960s, Tanabe had been painting abstractly, and this informed the structure of his landscapes. He refined a reductive approach to depicting these already spare spaces, creating images of simplified planes with only the barest of details. In doing so, he used paint thinly washed into the canvas, similar to the technique used in Japanese sumi-e painting. On the prairies, the ever-changing sky and the light that pours from it transform the landscape. Tanabe’s use of light in Prairie Hill is subtle and diffused; the light changes through shifts in colour near the horizon, first with the blue band, and then with the paler glow where sky meets land. The scale of Prairie Hill gives the viewer a visceral experience of Tanabe’s sublime landscape, which captures a geographical essence that exists outside of a specific place and time.
All prices are in Canadian Dollars
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