Lot # 220
Post-War & Contemporary Art Highlights Online auction

Gordon Appelbe Smith
BCSFA CGP CPE OC RCA 1919 - 2020 Canadian

acrylic on canvas 1960 ~ 1970
on verso signed
54 x 65 in  137.2 x 165.1cm

The Douglas Gallery, Vancouver
Private Collection, Vancouver

Ian M. Thom et al., Gordon Smith: Don’t Look Back, 2014, page 55

Around 1966, Gordon Smith turned from abstractions that were organic and free-form to hard-edge, geometric compositions. Although this change was seemingly overnight, one can track this transformation to Smith’s interest in colour theory – he read Johannes Itten and Joseph Albers, and he also saw Guido Molinari’s exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1964. Smith is a modernist who shifts and evolves, absorbing influences and constantly challenging himself. Hard-edge painting had become the subject of critical debate internationally, and exhibitions such as Clement Greenberg’s 1964 Post-painterly Abstraction and William Seitz’s 1965 The Responsive Eye included this style of work. On the Vancouver scene, artists such as Brian Fisher, Gary Lee-Nova and Michael Morris began painting hard-edge works.

In hard-edge works such as this, Smith shows his mastery of form and inventiveness of palette – jewel tones of red, purple and emerald are paired with more serious, somber colours such as khaki and brown. Abstract is an outstanding example of this part of Smith’s oeuvre, in which, as Roald Nasgaard wrote, “he dazzles the eyes and teases the mind with witty spatial contradictions, using the freshest of colours.”

The Vancouver Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts have Smith’s geometric abstractions in their collections.


$35,000 ~ $45,000 CAD

Starting Bid: $30,000 CAD
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