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LOT 045

James Williamson Galloway (Jock) Macdonald

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ARCA BCSFA CGP OSA P11
1897 - 1960
Canadian

Bird and Environment
oil on canvas
signed and dated 1948 and on verso signed, titled and inscribed "23 Millbrook Ave. Toronto" and "58" and variously
25 1/4 x 35 in, 64.1 x 88.9 cm

CAD

Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave

PROVENANCE
Estate of the Artist
Collection of Mrs. William Davenport, Ventura, California
An Important Private Collection, Toronto

LITERATURE
"What Makes the Macdonalds Paint?," Mayfair magazine, vol. 25, no. 7, July 1951, titled Bird Environment, reproduced page 41
Jock Macdonald: Retrospective Exhibition, National Gallery of Canada, 1969, reproduced page 46
Joyce Zemans, Jock Macdonald: The Inner Landscape: A Retrospective Exhibition, Art Gallery of Ontario, 1981, reproduced page 140 and listed page 283
Ian Thom et al., Jock Macdonald: Evolving Form, Vancouver Art Gallery 2014, reproduced page 68, noted page 178 and listed page 204
Joyce Zemans, Jock Macdonald: Life & Work, Art Canada Institute, 2016, reproduced page 45

EXHIBITED
Ontario Society of Artists, Toronto, 76th Annual Exhibition, March 6 – 20, 1948, titled as Birds and Environment, catalogue #76
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Exhibition of Contemporary Canadian Painting, 1948, touring to the Canadian Club of New York, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York, catalogue #37
Art Gallery of Toronto, Jock W.G. Macdonald: A Retrospective Exhibition, May 1960, catalogue #66
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Jock Macdonald: Retrospective Exhibition, September 19 - October 12, 1969, traveling in 1969 – 1970, catalogue #13
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Jock Macdonald: The Inner Landscape: A Retrospective Exhibition, 1981, traveling in 1981 – 1982 to the Art Gallery of Windsor, Edmonton Art Gallery, Winnipeg Art Gallery and Vancouver Art Gallery, catalogue #60
Vancouver Art Gallery, Jock Macdonald: Evolving Form, October 18, 2014 – January 4, 2015, traveling to the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, January 31 – May 24, 2015, and Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, June 12 – September 7, 2015

In the mid-1940s, Jock Macdonald began to experiment radically with both his style and his materials. Enabled by the freedom and looseness of ink and watercolour, during this period he readily used the surrealist technique of automatism, drawing and painting without preconception and allowing images to emerge subconsciously. The resulting works, frequently recalling fanciful animals and abstract configurations, were some of Macdonald’s most expressive and dynamic images. By the end of the decade, and perhaps working on a suggestion by Lawren Harris, Macdonald began to expand these techniques into larger oil paintings.

Translating the fluid pigments and spontaneity of watercolour to the slower medium of oil proved challenging, and he produced only a few canvases in this period. Bird and Environment represents the successful synthesis of the vitality of his automatic paintings with the monumentality afforded by oil. Elegant in its composition, the work is clearly somewhat preconceived: the edges radiate with molten colour and expressionistic line work twisting around the central figure of a hummingbird that seems to vibrate with motion and brilliance. Richly coloured and dramatic, Bird and Environment, which boasts an esteemed exhibition history, represents the height of Macdonald’s crucial transitional period towards full abstraction, which he would achieve with his introduction to synthetic paints in the 1950s.

Estimate: $25,000 - $35,000 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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Canada
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ARCA BCSFA CGP OSA P11
1897 - 1960
Canadian

Bird and Environment
oil on canvas
signed and dated 1948 and on verso signed, titled and inscribed "23 Millbrook Ave. Toronto" and "58" and variously
25 1/4 x 35 in, 64.1 x 88.9 cm

CAD

Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave

PROVENANCE
Estate of the Artist
Collection of Mrs. William Davenport, Ventura, California
An Important Private Collection, Toronto

LITERATURE
"What Makes the Macdonalds Paint?," Mayfair magazine, vol. 25, no. 7, July 1951, titled Bird Environment, reproduced page 41
Jock Macdonald: Retrospective Exhibition, National Gallery of Canada, 1969, reproduced page 46
Joyce Zemans, Jock Macdonald: The Inner Landscape: A Retrospective Exhibition, Art Gallery of Ontario, 1981, reproduced page 140 and listed page 283
Ian Thom et al., Jock Macdonald: Evolving Form, Vancouver Art Gallery 2014, reproduced page 68, noted page 178 and listed page 204
Joyce Zemans, Jock Macdonald: Life & Work, Art Canada Institute, 2016, reproduced page 45

EXHIBITED
Ontario Society of Artists, Toronto, 76th Annual Exhibition, March 6 – 20, 1948, titled as Birds and Environment, catalogue #76
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Exhibition of Contemporary Canadian Painting, 1948, touring to the Canadian Club of New York, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York, catalogue #37
Art Gallery of Toronto, Jock W.G. Macdonald: A Retrospective Exhibition, May 1960, catalogue #66
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Jock Macdonald: Retrospective Exhibition, September 19 - October 12, 1969, traveling in 1969 – 1970, catalogue #13
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Jock Macdonald: The Inner Landscape: A Retrospective Exhibition, 1981, traveling in 1981 – 1982 to the Art Gallery of Windsor, Edmonton Art Gallery, Winnipeg Art Gallery and Vancouver Art Gallery, catalogue #60
Vancouver Art Gallery, Jock Macdonald: Evolving Form, October 18, 2014 – January 4, 2015, traveling to the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, January 31 – May 24, 2015, and Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, June 12 – September 7, 2015

In the mid-1940s, Jock Macdonald began to experiment radically with both his style and his materials. Enabled by the freedom and looseness of ink and watercolour, during this period he readily used the surrealist technique of automatism, drawing and painting without preconception and allowing images to emerge subconsciously. The resulting works, frequently recalling fanciful animals and abstract configurations, were some of Macdonald’s most expressive and dynamic images. By the end of the decade, and perhaps working on a suggestion by Lawren Harris, Macdonald began to expand these techniques into larger oil paintings.

Translating the fluid pigments and spontaneity of watercolour to the slower medium of oil proved challenging, and he produced only a few canvases in this period. Bird and Environment represents the successful synthesis of the vitality of his automatic paintings with the monumentality afforded by oil. Elegant in its composition, the work is clearly somewhat preconceived: the edges radiate with molten colour and expressionistic line work twisting around the central figure of a hummingbird that seems to vibrate with motion and brilliance. Richly coloured and dramatic, Bird and Environment, which boasts an esteemed exhibition history, represents the height of Macdonald’s crucial transitional period towards full abstraction, which he would achieve with his introduction to synthetic paints in the 1950s.

Estimate: $25,000 - $35,000 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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Sale price
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Estimate
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Time, Location
23 Nov 2023
Canada
Auction House
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