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LOT 029

Gordon Appelbe Smith
1919 - 2020

Granville Street at Night
oil on board, circa 1954
signed and on verso inscribed "8077"
17 3/4 x 29 3/4 in 45.1 x 75.6 cm

Estimate: $30,000 - $50,000

Sold for: $91,250

Preview at:

Private Collection, Vancouver, late 1950s
By descent to the present Private Collection, Vancouver

Granville Street at Night is a rare and stunning depiction of Vancouver’s urban centre by Gordon Smith. In the modernist artistic milieu on the West Coast in the 1940s and 1950s, artists such as Smith and Jack Shadbolt (who produced more realistic depictions of downtown Vancouver in the 1940s) found the cityscape a stimulating subject. Here, Smith captured the dramatic nightscape of Granville Street’s entertainment district in the 1950s, lit by the neon signs of theatres and restaurants, by street lights and the headlights of cars. Vancouver was then known for its neon, which has largely disappeared, although some iconic pieces are preserved in the Museum of Vancouver. Light from these sources reflects in the rain-slicked road surface and glimmers along the overhead trolley wires. Typical of his approach at the time, Smith laid a structure of black lines in counterpoint to the fluidity of his surfaces, which flicker with beams of light. The contrast between the dark grid and this play of light is finely handled, using soft, loose paint work. In Granville Street at Night, Smith showed his mastery of modernism in the balance he struck between his urban subject and his abstracted vision of it.

Estimate: $30,000 - $50,000

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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