LOT 033

1935 -2022

acrylic on canvas, 1978
signed and on verso titled
77 x 65 7/8 in, 195.6 x 167.6 cm

Estimate: $80,000 - $100,000 CAD

Sold for: $217,250

Preview at:

Acquired directly from the Artist by the present Private Collection, Toronto, 1988

Joan Murray, Ivan Eyre: Exposition, Robert McLaughlin Gallery, 1980, page 11
Ivan Eyre, Ivan on Eyre: The Paintings, Pavilion Gallery, 2004, page 10, discussed page 158, reproduced page 159

Ivan Eyre is celebrated for his enigmatic and captivating paintings, which transcend conventional narrative confines. Winnetka, from 1978, is a superb example.

With a career spanning six decades, Eyre has had a profound influence on the Canadian art landscape with his distinctive style and philosophy. Eyre’s artistic approach is characterized by spontaneity and intuition. As he once articulated, “I use subjects impulsively. I treat them in accordance with the needs in the painting, not to support a narrative.” This sentiment encapsulates his departure from traditional storytelling in favour of a more intuitive exploration of form and composition. His work often features intriguing landscapes and figures, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in their own interpretations rather than adhere to a prescribed storyline.

Central to Eyre’s artistic ethos is the notion of preserving a sense of mystery within his works. He believed that “something less than a full understanding of a work is desirable,” as it perpetually engages the viewer’s imagination. Embracing ambiguity, Eyre recognized that complete comprehension would diminish the allure of his art, emphasizing an ongoing dialogue between the artwork and its audience.

A notable aspect of Eyre’s technique is his seamless integration of disparate elements within his compositions. As he remarked, “I invariably modify seemingly arbitrary or alien components so that they harmonize with the painting’s form.” This inclination to incorporate unexpected elements adds layers of complexity, beckoning viewers to explore the interplay between the familiar and the unfamiliar. Joan Murray aptly noted, “He often uses windows to give his compositions ‘insides’ and ‘outsides.’… A picture exists within a picture, and successive realities unfold.” This convention is exemplified in works such as Winnetka, where Eyre’s masterful balance of indoor and outdoor elements tantalizes viewers with its elusive classification and endless intrigue. Large-scale and immersive, the painting remains delicate and sensitive.

By defying narrative conventions and embracing ambiguity, Eyre prompts us to confront our own perceptions and assumptions. As he eloquently expressed, “Some mystery should remain, compelling viewers back to the paintings … possibly to reaffirm themselves.” In fascinating works such as Winnetka, Eyre’s art continues to captivate and inspire.

Estimate: $80,000 - $100,000 CAD

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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