LOT 002

1913 - 2007

Low Tide at Roberts Bay
oil on board
signed and dated 1947 and on verso titled on the Dominion Gallery label and inscribed with the Dominion Gallery Inventory #B8064
8 1/2 x 10 1/2 in, 21.6 x 26.7 cm

Estimate: $30,000 - $50,000 CAD

Sold for: $37,250

Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave

Dominion Gallery, Montreal
Acquired from the above by the present Private Collection, Vancouver, 1988

Jacques Barbeau, The E.J. Hughes Album: The Paintings, Volume 1, 1932 - 1991, 2011, the related 1953 canvas entitled Roberts Bay, BC reproduced page 19
Robert Amos, E.J. Hughes Paints Vancouver Island, 2018, the related 1953 canvas entitled Roberts Bay, BC reproduced page 45 and the related 1948 ink drawing entitled Study of Boats at Roberts Bay, Sidney reproduced page 43

In 1947 and 1948, an Emily Carr scholarship enabled E.J. Hughes to take sketching trips from his base in Victoria to locations on Vancouver Island. In 1947, the artist painted this scene of boats marooned on the shore at Roberts Bay in Sidney, a picturesque seaside outpost at the tip of the Saanich Peninsula. Three related works followed: Study of Boats at Roberts Bay, Sidney, a 1948 annotated drawing; Roberts Bay, BC, a 1953 canvas (sold by Heffel, November 27, 2014, lot 38); and Low Tide at Roberts Bay, a 2006 watercolour. Our 1947 oil was the first in the sequence, and it is extraordinary. There is an immediacy and vigour to Hughes’s brush-strokes and a freshness of atmosphere, with a fine handling of sunlight raking across the scene. Executed on the spot, the work has a natural colour palette, with boats in tones of grey and green, rich dark-green trees and a cobalt sky.

The aforementioned drawing with colour annotations reveals Hughes’s plan for the colourful 1953 canvas. In 2006, inspired by the canvas, he also painted a pastel-toned watercolour. The artist must have found this image compelling to have produced these different versions. This 1947 oil has a dynamic energy, and it captures something raw and visceral about the scene not present in the more polished studio works. Low Tide at Roberts Bay is a rare, superb oil sketch from Hughes’s sought-after period of the 1940s.

Estimate: $30,000 - $50,000 CAD

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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