Lot # 045
Post-War & Contemporary Art Live auction

William Kurelek
ARCA OC OSA 1927 - 1977 Canadian

Satan's Web (Rural Quebec Today)
mixed media on board
initialed and dated 1976 and on verso titled Satan's Web and titled on the gallery labels and inscribed "M"
28 x 20 in  71.1 x 50.8cm

Provenance:
The Isaacs Gallery Ltd., Toronto
Galerie d'art Michel de Kerdour, Quebec City
Private Collection, Quebec

Literature:
Patricia Morley, Kurelek: A Biography, 1986, page 266

William Kurelek was working on illustrating the pioneer roots of the main ethnic groups in Canada, and in 1976, he traveled to Quebec. He was interested in its countryside and villages, and he spent time in Charlevoix County, northeast of Quebec City. In this fascinating and finely detailed painting, Kurelek depicts the changes in Quebec’s traditional rural society brought by modern pursuits and technology, which he felt eroded its original simple lifestyle and Roman Catholic faith. In the pursuit of winter pleasure, residents tow children across the landscape with snowmobiles rather than the children cross-country skiing as they once did. A plane streaks across the sky, symbolic of the fast movement of present-day life. The cross that dominates the scene – a traditional wayside shrine – is superimposed on the hydroelectric tower, a kind of contemporary technological cross. Kurelek’s deliberate message pits spiritual faith against modernity. The artist was a passionate Roman Catholic, who regretted, in his words, “the waning of the Church in Quebec...its loss of authority on moral matters.” Satan’s Web is a potent example of Kurelek’s intense vision, which compelled him to embed messages with a deeper meaning in this seemingly idyllic scene.

This work is in the original frame made by Kurelek.

Estimate: $50,000 ~ $80,000 CAD  

All prices are in Canadian Dollars.

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