Fall 2016 - 1st Session Live auction
Lot # 001
Gordon Appelbe Smith
BCSFA CGP CPE OC RCA 1919 - Canadian
White and Blue Out of Red
oil on canvas circa 1965
32 x 26 in 81.3 x 66cm
The Art Emporium, Vancouver, 1973
Estate of Dr. and Mrs. William F. Bie, British Columbia
Ian M. Thom and Andrew Hunter, Gordon Smith: The Act of Painting, Vancouver Art Gallery, 1997, a similar 1965 canvas entitled Red Wizard, Red reproduced page 33
Dr. and Mrs. William F. Bie, the collectors of this group of works, were friends with members of the vital community of modernist artists in Vancouver such as Gordon Smith, Alistair Bell, Jack Shadbolt and Molly Lamb Bobak, thus they were able to acquire the best examples of their work. They were particularly close to Gordon and Marion Smith, and their works by Smith are some of the finest of their period. Reflective of his involvement in the art community, Dr. Bie served on the board of the Vancouver Art Gallery during the time of its move to the courthouse in 1983.
Around 1965, Smith took a new direction in his abstract works, characterized by saturated colour and bold, expressionist brush-strokes. Always evolving and looking to the latest developments in the art world, this West Coast modernist had previously worked with biomorphic shapes floating on abstract grounds that recalled Arshile Gorky, and he would shortly after this turn to hard-edge painting. White and Blue Out of Red is very similar to Red Wizard, Red, a painting widely seen when it was reproduced in Time magazine. The titles of these two works emphasize the importance of colour to Smith at that time—here dominated by emphatic shades of red and balanced by rich cobalt and dark green. Strokes of white pull the eye to the strong, totemic presence of the central form. Forces of expansion and compression create tension and energy in the work, as the density of the central form contrasts with the strokes of red that surge off the canvas in multiple directions. Smith’s audacious use of charged pigment and his sure brushwork make this an exciting painting that asserts its presence with absolute confidence.
Estimate: $50,000 ~ $70,000 CAD
Sold For: $177,000.00 CAD (including buyer's premium)