Lot Sale Results

Gershon Iskowitz

Gershon Iskowitz

Gershon Iskowitz
Spring 2017 - 1st Session Live auction

Lot # 029

Gershon Iskowitz
CSGA RCA 1921 - 1988 Canadian

oil on canvas
on verso signed, titled and dated 1972
90 x 75 in  228.6 x 190.5cm

Gallery Moos Ltd., Toronto
Private Collection, Ontario

No matter how familiar we are with great painting, whether the images be figurative or abstract, most viewers appreciate having a guide from the artist that informs us of the maker’s thoughts, to assure us that we clearly understand what we see before our eyes. That guide is commonly in the form of a title, one which reads as a clue to the artist’s subject, state of mind or creative intention. Accustomed as we are to that tradition, the word “untitled” may leave us mystified or perhaps just insecure about our own perceptions. In the case of paintings by Gershon Iskowitz, true to his nature, he kindly provided us with these clues, particularly in his beautiful series of paintings that focus on the four seasons of the year, a subject that inspired him and that is so common to our Canadian experience. But this artist need not have taken the trouble to do so since, as with this shimmering canvas, Summer, Iskowitz’s painting does what it is meant to do—that is, speak for itself by offering us the essence of the season that inspired it.
Such celebratory images belie the dire experiences of the artist’s life before his arrival in Toronto in 1949. Iskowitz was a Holocaust survivor, and his paintings and drawings of the 1950s and early 1960s understandably reflected that terrible past. When he first began to explore and depict the landscape of southern Ontario, his palette remained subdued, almost monochromatic, still mired in those traumatic memories. It was after receiving a Canada Council grant in 1967 that Iskowitz was able to travel farther afield and, while visiting Churchill, Manitoba, had the opportunity to take several helicopter rides that were to forever alter his perspective in both a literal and spiritual way. While his images from the early to mid-1960s typically featured semi-abstract tree-like forms rendered in ochre, grey and neutral, earthy tones, by the early 1970s, those forms had become free-floating explosions of brilliant colour. The sombre aspects of the earlier images had been transformed—as though by a sudden sunny opening in the clouds of the past—into optimistic, joyful expressions of Iskowitz’s unbridled pleasure in painting.
In Summer we have a glowing image, clearly communicating warmth and humidity, the impression of vegetation in full flower coated in dappled light, and a delight in the kind of summer’s day that invites us to be lazy and just stretch out on a blanket beneath the shade of the trees.

Estimate: $50,000 ~ $70,000 CAD

Sold For: $157,250.00 CAD (including buyer's premium)

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