LOT 031

1923 - 1999

Petite étoile rouge
oil on canvas
on verso signed, titled on the gallery labels and dated 1964
20 x 18 in, 50.8 x 45.7 cm

Estimate: $40,000 - $50,000 CAD

Sold for: $49,250

Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave

Marlborough-Godard, Montreal
Private Collection, Montreal
By descent to a Private Collection, Toronto
Post-War & Contemporary Art, Heffel Fine Art Auction House, November 23, 2013, lot 30
Acquired from the above by a Private Collection, Quebec
Galerie Michel-Ange, Montreal
Private Collection, Calgary

In 1955, Jean McEwen began to paint using his fingertips. This interaction with paint, more intimate than his usual use of the palette knife, transformed his works into strongly organic masses of colour. He would then pick up his knife and brushes again to incise and scrape these rich surfaces. These works, with their planes of colour slipping fluidly over each other, established a new direction in Canadian modern art.

McEwen’s interest in translucent layered colour and his keen understanding of colour theory supported and shaped his mature compositions along continuous lines of exploration. He often worked in series; in 1964, he was engaged with Le drapeau inconnu (The Unknown Flag), Ovodalisque (Ovodalisk) and Hommage au soleil (Homage to the Sun) series. McEwen’s titles suggested associations in his paintings rather than being strict definitions of meaning. Petite étoile rouge (Small Red Star) causes us to think of the heavens and search for a star in the work—perhaps a pinprick of brilliant orange hidden in the luminous fields of colour. McEwen’s jewel-like tones are luscious: cobalt overlaid with lighter blue, lava-like red and brilliant orange set off against a horizontal bar of black. In Petite étoile rouge, McEwen dazzles us with his command of colour and space, and intrigues us with his evocative poetic associations.

Estimate: $40,000 - $50,000 CAD

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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