Albert Henry Robinson
1881 - 1956
The Hockey Game, St. Lawrence, North Shore Village / Village with Horse and Sleigh (verso)
double-sided oil on canvas
signed and dated 1949 indistinctly and on verso titled on the Klinkhoff gallery label and inscribed "Albert Robinson No. 2" and "158 Vendome Ave" on a label and "K2"
22 x 26 po 55.9 x 66 cm
Estimation : $100,000 - $150,000
Exposition à : Heffel Toronto – 13 avenue Hazelton
Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., Montreal
Gerard Gorce Fine Art, Montreal
Kenneth G. Heffel Fine Art Inc., Vancouver
Peter and Joanne Brown Collection, Vancouver, acquired from the above in 1983
Canada’s love of the sport of hockey is an integral part of our history, and the sport is one in which we exhibit worldwide prowess. With the sport so much at the forefront of the national consciousness and so much a part of our winters, it is no surprise that painter Albert Henry Robinson chose to depict a hockey game on a small pond in a village along the north shore of the St. Lawrence in this fine work.
Robinson was an exceptional colourist, and in this charming scene, perhaps depicting the village of Baie-Saint-Paul—a place that he painted often—we can see the influence of Impressionism in his colour, his brushwork and his sense of light. His training came from several sources and includes the influence of teacher John Sloan Gordon, who was considered a pioneer in art education in Canada. It was Gordon who suggested that Robinson travel to Paris to train further, which he did, attending the Académie Julian, a highly influential school that left a mark on many Canadian students of art. Robinson would come to associate with some of the artists that trained there, such as Clarence Gagnon, William Brymner and Maurice Cullen.
Robinson’s art shows his deep love of the villages of Quebec. He painted their inhabitants going about their daily routines—hauling hay and supplies and going to church—most often making their way through deep snow while doing so. In the whites of winter we find his best expressions of colour. Pale blues, pinks and mauves show us the cool shadows of snow in the afternoon, and they contrast softly against the gaily painted buildings in the village. The large brick building, possibly a hospital or mission, sets the tone with a deep purple red, and the other colours—blues, yellows, greens and pinks—play delicately off this feature.
A sketch for this work (in a private collection) tells us by its title, Skating After School, that this hockey game is being played in the afternoon. The shadowed foreground supports this time of day, while the light of winter’s early evenings touches the tree-crowned hills beyond the village. Five figures intent on the game can be seen on the ice, with a younger child looking on from the snow-covered bank. Four players face the goalie, who, without defenders, prepares to block the mouth of the goal, represented by two sticks protruding from the snow. Just as all this unfolds, a faded red sleigh crests a small hill at the edge of the rink, and as it does so, the driver seems to stand to brake the horse as the game comes fully into view and just, it seems, as a critical play might be made. It is a charming moment; the horse is still in stride while the driver has been distracted by the action in this very Canadian scene, in which we can almost hear the scrape of skates or the slap of a wooden stick against the ice.
Estimation : $100,000 - $150,000
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