LOT 023

1913 - 2007

Williams Lake
oil on canvas
signed and dated 1969 and on verso signed, titled, dated and inscribed "1/6/76" and "Propriété de Lucile Valiquette"
32 x 40 1/4 in, 81.3 x 102.2 cm

Estimate: $150,000 - $250,000 CAD

Preview at:

Dominion Gallery, Montreal
Lucile Valiquette, 1976
By descent to a Private Collection, Montreal
Post-War & Contemporary Art, Heffel Fine Art Auction House, May 23, 2007, lot 189
Equinox Gallery, Vancouver
Private Collection, Vancouver

Jane Young, E.J. Hughes, 1931 - 1982: A Retrospective Exhibition, Surrey Art Gallery, 1983, page 71
Jacques Barbeau, The E.J. Hughes Album: The Paintings, Volume 1, 1932 – 1991, 2011, reproduced page 55

E.J. Hughes undertook a number of trips to the Interior of British Columbia: in 1956 to the northern Okanagan around Kamloops, Ashcroft and Vernon; in 1958 to the Okanagan Valley around Penticton as well as to Revelstoke; in 1963 to the northern Interior around the Thompson Valley and Williams Lake, and lastly, to the northern Interior in 1967, funded by a Canada Council grant. On the 1967 trip, Hughes first visited the Hazelton area in northern BC, then went south to the Kootenays, around Kaslo and Cranbrook. On this trip, Hughes enjoyed the use of his new Pontiac car for exploration, and as a mobile studio. Well known for his coastal BC works, Hughes also did a substantial body of work based on BC Interior subject matter. Notably, it was a 1969 canvas from the Interior, Kaslo on Kootenay Lake, which became his diploma piece for the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. As is the case with this fine painting, Hughes would continue to work on this subject matter in the studio, referencing pencil sketches executed on these trips.

Typical of the work of this sought-after period in Hughes’s oeuvre is the deeply coloured palette of rich blues and greens of lake and hills, and the inclusion of human presence in the landscape with the brightly coloured houses and trucks. The relationship between man and nature in Hughes’s work is a harmonious one. As Jane Young comments, “While the Group and Carr continued the tradition of landscape painting of the nineteenth century which celebrated the sublime and overwhelming power of nature, Hughes has painted the world as a civilized and cultivated garden through which man wanders, at home and at peace.” Hughes’s careful placement of compositional elements is in play with the positioning of the low clouds to the left, which leaves an opening in the centre to draw the eye through the landscape over the lake and up to the high overcast sky. In Williams Lake, Hughes showed his predilection for a picturesque and finely detailed panoramic view, and he depicted the unique colour and light of the northern Interior with an eye for beauty.

Estimate: $150,000 - $250,000 CAD

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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