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LOT 005

Edward John (E.J.) Hughes

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BCSFA CGP OC RCA
1913 - 2007
Canadian

Echo Bay, Gilford Island
oil on canvas
signed and dated 1963 and on verso signed, titled, dated, inscribed "photo" / "H3440" / "C7884" and stamped "32" and Dominion Gallery
32 x 45 in, 81.3 x 114.3 cm

CAD

Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave

PROVENANCE
Dominion Gallery, Montreal, 1981
Equinox Gallery, Vancouver
Private Collection, Vancouver
By descent to the present Private Collection, Georgia

LITERATURE
Doris Shadbolt, E.J. Hughes, Vancouver Art Gallery, 1967, unpaginated
Jane Young, E.J. Hughes, 1931 - 1982: A Retrospective Exhibition, Surrey Art Gallery, 1983, reproduced page 72 and listed page 94
Howard White, Raincoast Chronicles Six/Ten, 1983, reproduced front cover
Ian M. Thom, E.J. Hughes, Vancouver Art Gallery, 2002, the related 1954 oil titled Echo Bay reproduced page 121
E. J. Hughes Calendar (Pacific Outlook), Duncan, BC, 2009, reproduced
Jacques Barbeau, The E.J. Hughes Album, Volume 1, The Paintings, 1932 - 1991, 2011, reproduced page 40

EXHIBITED
Surrey Art Gallery, E.J. Hughes, 1931 - 1982: A Retrospective Exhibition, November 18 - December 11, 1983, traveling in 1984 - 1985 to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; Edmonton Art Gallery; Glenbow Museum, Calgary; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; and the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton, catalogue #25

E.J. Hughes “created a permanent poetry of Canada’s Pacific coast and reiterated the continuing values of the individual creative spirit.”—Doris Shadbolt

In June 1953, a telegram arrived at Shawnigan Lake from New Jersey offering E.J. Hughes a commission to paint a series of pictures for Standard Oil’s in-house magazine, The Lamp. Though prone to seasickness, Hughes needed the income, and he asked his dealer, Max Stern in Montreal, for advice.

On July 2, 1953, Stern wrote to Hughes: “I would suggest that you accept their offer and sell them the publication rights of your paintings only. This means, you take the trip on the tanker, you make the sketches, and then paint the paintings, selling them the reproduction rights to your paintings for an amount of about $400 to $500 each.” And the Dominion Gallery would take care of the business. “We will be satisfied with a commission of 20% of the publication rights and will pay you for each canvas and sketch,” wrote Stern.[1]

Hughes agreed to the plan and met the oil tanker the Imperial Nanaimo at the Ioco Refinery outside Vancouver in mid-August. The ship was loaded with gasoline, stove oil and other petroleum products and visited water-access-only communities along the BC coast all the way up to Haida Gwaii. Fishermen and loggers gathered at these wharfside depots to stock up on food and fuel and to catch up on the news. Joining his powerful perceptions of the landscape with an honest sympathy for the working people there, Hughes portrayed the very essence of life on the west coast.

Following stops at coves and camps on the way north, the Imperial Nanaimo landed at Echo Bay on Gilford Island, across from Port McNeill. There, Hughes painted the scene as the ship prepared to offload some oil at the wharf.

After three weeks away, on September 3, 1953, Hughes reported to Stern: “My trip on the tanker was very enjoyable and I feel it was profitable too—my sketches were all very rough though, as the stops were short and I had to work rapidly. Have just yesterday despatched 39 pencil sketches to Mr. Sammis of New York and will wait to see which ones are selected to be used for the paintings…”[2]

The first finished painting was Namu Cannery (1953), and on December 16, 1953, Hughes dispatched the second, Echo Bay (24 x 18 inches, 61 x 45.7 cm). The editor had requested a vertical image for the cover of the magazine. “This is really a detail of a horizontal sketch,” Hughes’s friend Pat Salmon later reported. “The upper left space was left bare to make space for the title of the magazine.”[3]

In the end, Hughes did five paintings and received $2,000 from Standard Oil for the reproduction rights. The original oil paintings were then acquired by the Dominion Gallery for $75 each.

Ten years later, in 1963, Hughes painted the Echo Bay image in a horizontal format as he had originally conceived it, and sent the painting to the Dominion Gallery on March 2, 1963. He was paid $400. In the letter that accompanied the painting, Hughes wrote: “You will notice that this is similar in content to the cover painting for Lamp Magazine [Standard Oil, September 1954] but with an expanded outlook.” Dr. Stern, on March 11, 1963, replied: “Your painting has an oriental feeling which I like very much and it is more decorative than your canvases normally are.”

The vertical version of Echo Bay (1954) was described by Ian Thom as “perhaps the most successful of these commissioned paintings.”[4] Later, Jane Young included the horizontal version, our canvas Echo Bay, Gilford Island (1963), in the major Hughes retrospective sent on tour from the Surrey Art Gallery in 1984. The trip on the Imperial Nanaimo provided subject matter that Hughes would use for the rest of his life.

We thank Robert Amos, artist and writer from Victoria, BC, for contributing the above essay. Amos is the official biographer of Hughes and has so far published four books on his work. Building on the archives of Pat Salmon, Amos is at work on a catalogue raisonné of the artist’s work.

1. Max Stern to E.J. Hughes, July 2, 1953, correspondence available at Special Collections, University of Victoria.

2. A detailed study of the Imperial Nanaimo trip is included in Robert Amos, E.J. Hughes Paints British Columbia (Victoria: TouchWood Editions, 2018).

3. Pat Salmon, unpublished manuscript, circa 2010.

4. Ian M. Thom, E.J. Hughes (Vancouver: Vancouver Art Gallery, in assoc. with Douglast & McIntyre, 2002), exhibition catalogue, 119.

Estimate: $250,000 - $350,000 CAD

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. Bidders must ensure they have satisfied themselves with the condition of the Lot prior to bidding. Condition reports are available upon request.

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[ translate ]

BCSFA CGP OC RCA
1913 - 2007
Canadian

Echo Bay, Gilford Island
oil on canvas
signed and dated 1963 and on verso signed, titled, dated, inscribed "photo" / "H3440" / "C7884" and stamped "32" and Dominion Gallery
32 x 45 in, 81.3 x 114.3 cm

CAD

Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave

PROVENANCE
Dominion Gallery, Montreal, 1981
Equinox Gallery, Vancouver
Private Collection, Vancouver
By descent to the present Private Collection, Georgia

LITERATURE
Doris Shadbolt, E.J. Hughes, Vancouver Art Gallery, 1967, unpaginated
Jane Young, E.J. Hughes, 1931 - 1982: A Retrospective Exhibition, Surrey Art Gallery, 1983, reproduced page 72 and listed page 94
Howard White, Raincoast Chronicles Six/Ten, 1983, reproduced front cover
Ian M. Thom, E.J. Hughes, Vancouver Art Gallery, 2002, the related 1954 oil titled Echo Bay reproduced page 121
E. J. Hughes Calendar (Pacific Outlook), Duncan, BC, 2009, reproduced
Jacques Barbeau, The E.J. Hughes Album, Volume 1, The Paintings, 1932 - 1991, 2011, reproduced page 40

EXHIBITED
Surrey Art Gallery, E.J. Hughes, 1931 - 1982: A Retrospective Exhibition, November 18 - December 11, 1983, traveling in 1984 - 1985 to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; Edmonton Art Gallery; Glenbow Museum, Calgary; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; and the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton, catalogue #25

E.J. Hughes “created a permanent poetry of Canada’s Pacific coast and reiterated the continuing values of the individual creative spirit.”—Doris Shadbolt

In June 1953, a telegram arrived at Shawnigan Lake from New Jersey offering E.J. Hughes a commission to paint a series of pictures for Standard Oil’s in-house magazine, The Lamp. Though prone to seasickness, Hughes needed the income, and he asked his dealer, Max Stern in Montreal, for advice.

On July 2, 1953, Stern wrote to Hughes: “I would suggest that you accept their offer and sell them the publication rights of your paintings only. This means, you take the trip on the tanker, you make the sketches, and then paint the paintings, selling them the reproduction rights to your paintings for an amount of about $400 to $500 each.” And the Dominion Gallery would take care of the business. “We will be satisfied with a commission of 20% of the publication rights and will pay you for each canvas and sketch,” wrote Stern.[1]

Hughes agreed to the plan and met the oil tanker the Imperial Nanaimo at the Ioco Refinery outside Vancouver in mid-August. The ship was loaded with gasoline, stove oil and other petroleum products and visited water-access-only communities along the BC coast all the way up to Haida Gwaii. Fishermen and loggers gathered at these wharfside depots to stock up on food and fuel and to catch up on the news. Joining his powerful perceptions of the landscape with an honest sympathy for the working people there, Hughes portrayed the very essence of life on the west coast.

Following stops at coves and camps on the way north, the Imperial Nanaimo landed at Echo Bay on Gilford Island, across from Port McNeill. There, Hughes painted the scene as the ship prepared to offload some oil at the wharf.

After three weeks away, on September 3, 1953, Hughes reported to Stern: “My trip on the tanker was very enjoyable and I feel it was profitable too—my sketches were all very rough though, as the stops were short and I had to work rapidly. Have just yesterday despatched 39 pencil sketches to Mr. Sammis of New York and will wait to see which ones are selected to be used for the paintings…”[2]

The first finished painting was Namu Cannery (1953), and on December 16, 1953, Hughes dispatched the second, Echo Bay (24 x 18 inches, 61 x 45.7 cm). The editor had requested a vertical image for the cover of the magazine. “This is really a detail of a horizontal sketch,” Hughes’s friend Pat Salmon later reported. “The upper left space was left bare to make space for the title of the magazine.”[3]

In the end, Hughes did five paintings and received $2,000 from Standard Oil for the reproduction rights. The original oil paintings were then acquired by the Dominion Gallery for $75 each.

Ten years later, in 1963, Hughes painted the Echo Bay image in a horizontal format as he had originally conceived it, and sent the painting to the Dominion Gallery on March 2, 1963. He was paid $400. In the letter that accompanied the painting, Hughes wrote: “You will notice that this is similar in content to the cover painting for Lamp Magazine [Standard Oil, September 1954] but with an expanded outlook.” Dr. Stern, on March 11, 1963, replied: “Your painting has an oriental feeling which I like very much and it is more decorative than your canvases normally are.”

The vertical version of Echo Bay (1954) was described by Ian Thom as “perhaps the most successful of these commissioned paintings.”[4] Later, Jane Young included the horizontal version, our canvas Echo Bay, Gilford Island (1963), in the major Hughes retrospective sent on tour from the Surrey Art Gallery in 1984. The trip on the Imperial Nanaimo provided subject matter that Hughes would use for the rest of his life.

We thank Robert Amos, artist and writer from Victoria, BC, for contributing the above essay. Amos is the official biographer of Hughes and has so far published four books on his work. Building on the archives of Pat Salmon, Amos is at work on a catalogue raisonné of the artist’s work.

1. Max Stern to E.J. Hughes, July 2, 1953, correspondence available at Special Collections, University of Victoria.

2. A detailed study of the Imperial Nanaimo trip is included in Robert Amos, E.J. Hughes Paints British Columbia (Victoria: TouchWood Editions, 2018).

3. Pat Salmon, unpublished manuscript, circa 2010.

4. Ian M. Thom, E.J. Hughes (Vancouver: Vancouver Art Gallery, in assoc. with Douglast & McIntyre, 2002), exhibition catalogue, 119.

Estimate: $250,000 - $350,000 CAD

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. Bidders must ensure they have satisfied themselves with the condition of the Lot prior to bidding. Condition reports are available upon request.

[ translate ]
Sale price
Unlock
Estimate
Unlock
Time, Location
23 Nov 2023
Canada
Auction House
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