Lot # 337
Post-War & Contemporary Art Online auction

Marion Florence S. MacKay Nicoll
ASA RCA 1909 - 1985 Canadian

Calgary I
acrylic on canvas
signed and dated 1964 indistinctly and on verso signed, titled and dated April 1964
45 x 54 in  114.3 x 137.2cm

Collection of Toronto-Dominion Bank, Calgary
Private Corporate Collection, Vancouver

Marion Nicoll is widely regarded as one of Albertaís finest abstract painters. Known for her bold, simplified style, her work poetically captures the elemental aspects of the Albertan landscape and people. Nicoll studied at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto and then the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art in Calgary (now ACAD), before becoming their first female instructor of craft and design in 1933. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, she maintained a traditional approach to representation, and painted almost exclusively naturalistic landscapes. Nicollís conversion to abstraction in the later part of her career was the result of two main influences: automatic drawing - as introduced by Jock MacDonald, and the 1957 Emma Lake workshop led by Will Barnett. Automatic drawing was a creative revelation to Nicoll - the Surrealist practise of spontaneous creation opened her mind to alternative forms of representation. She later recognized Barnettís clean and basic forms and colours as the optimal form for her abstract representation, and trips to New York (1958) and Sicily (1959) solidified her commitment to working abstractly.

Nicollís abstract works always began with an experience of a place, object or person. In contrast with the emotional spontaneity of Abstract Expressionism, she was extremely thoughtful in her process of conceptualization. She would meditate on the experience, sketching and experimenting to distill its essential aspects. By the 1960s, Nicoll had begun to establish her own visual vocabulary of carefully arranged spheres, totemic figures or hieroglyphic shapes. She avoided colour gradation, instead favouring interlocking forms, imbuing her work with a sense of sureness and clarity. In Calgary I, shapes of rich blue and maroon are contained within the stark neutral bands. Densely filling their boundaries, the action of the interlocking shapes seem to push to expand: Nicollís abstract representation of the experience of containment.


$10,000 ~ $15,000 CAD

Final Bid: $27,500 CAD
Bidding History
Paddle # Date Amount $
1824 26/09/2019 11:17:54 AM $27,500
9404 26/09/2019 11:11:04 AM $25,000
1824 25/09/2019 4:01:58 PM $22,500 Autobid
8148 25/09/2019 4:01:58 PM $20,000
1824 25/09/2019 2:40:33 PM $19,000 Autobid
8148 25/09/2019 2:00:20 PM $18,000
9404 25/09/2019 9:49:58 AM $17,000
8148 25/09/2019 9:41:22 AM $16,000
29718 14/09/2019 4:09:32 PM $15,000
1824 14/09/2019 4:08:35 PM $14,000 Autobid
29718 14/09/2019 4:08:35 PM $13,000
1824 14/09/2019 4:03:56 PM $12,000 Autobid
29718 14/09/2019 4:03:56 PM $11,000
1824 14/09/2019 4:02:01 PM $10,000 Autobid
29718 14/09/2019 4:02:01 PM $9,500
1824 14/09/2019 4:01:05 PM $9,000 Autobid
29718 14/09/2019 4:01:05 PM $8,500
1824 13/09/2019 7:17:03 PM $8,000 Autobid
9404 06/09/2019 3:16:56 PM $7,500

All prices are in Canadian Dollars.

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