Welcome to the new Heffel website!

As we switch our platform over, our old website still remains active. To access the previous version of Heffel.com, please click here.

LOT 021

William Paterson Ewen
1925 - 2002

oil on canvas
signed and on verso dated 1954 on the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal exhibition label
31 3/8 x 38 in 79.7 x 96.5 cm

Estimate: $30,000 - $50,000

Sold for: $91,250

Preview at:

Collection of Françoise Sullivan, Montreal
Collection of Blema and H. Arnold Steinberg, Montreal
Estate of Blema and H. Arnold Steinberg, Montreal

Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Panorama: Peinture au Québec, 1940 - 1966, 1967, listed page 82
Matthew Teitelbaum, Paterson Ewen: The Montreal Years, Mendel Art Gallery, 1987, page 19, reproduced page 18, listed
Claire Gravel, "Les annés montréalaises, 70 peintures et dessins de Paterson Ewen," Le Devoir, October 1, 1988, page 13
Matthew Teitelbaum, editor, Paterson Ewen, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 1996, reproduced page 50

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Espace 55, 1955
Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Panorama: Peinture au Québec, 1940 - 1966, May - August 1967, catalogue #30
Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Paterson Ewen: The Montreal Years, November 20, 1987 - January 3, 1988, traveling in 1988 to the London Regional Art Gallery; Art Gallery of Windsor; Concordia Art Gallery, Montreal; and St. Mary's University Art Gallery, Halifax, catalogue #12
Art Gallery of Ontario, Earthly Weathers / Heavenly Skies, September 1996 - February 1997
Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Paterson Ewen, May - August 1997

Representing a milestone in Paterson Ewen’s career, Untitled is the artist’s first fully abstract work, according to curator Matthew Teitelbaum. This bold oil on canvas, a historically important masterpiece embodying a major transition in his work, was extensively exhibited across the country. It was painted during Ewen’s Montreal years, when the art scene was dominated by the Automatists and Plasticiens. Although Untitled is gesturally indebted to Automatism, it also draws inspiration from Cubism and painter Paul Cézanne through its “clearly marked contours, closed and more or less regular shapes, and flat or tonally related colors,” as Teitelbaum describes. Thickly brushed organic shapes of mustard, maroon, brown, black and navy hover over a white background. A network of calligraphic lines runs across the canvas, connecting one form to another in a gridlike fashion. According to Teitelbaum, “[Untitled]’s modulated tones and scumbled paint handling recall Ewen’s landscape sympathies, while anticipating much of what was to predominate in his subsequent abstract work of the 1950s.” His abstract work quickly gained recognition, as dealer Gilles Corbeil included Untitled in his 1955 exhibition Espace 55 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Estimate: $30,000 - $50,000

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information posted, errors and omissions may occur. All bids are subject to our Terms and Conditions of Business.