LOT 227

1882 - 1953

Coffee and Dessert
watercolour on paper
signed and dated 1939 and on verso inscribed "Coffee and Dessert" and inscribed by Douglas Duncan "W-164"
14 7/8 x 20 in, 37.8 x 50.8 cm

Estimate: $25,000 - $35,000 CAD

Sold for: $31,250

Preview at:

Douglas Duncan Picture Loan Society, Toronto, circa 1965
Private Collection, Toronto
Canadian Fine Art, Joyner / Waddington's, November 28, 2006, lot 58
The Collection of Torben V. Kristiansen, Vancouver

David Milne Jr. and David P. Silcox, David B. Milne: Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Volume 2, 1929 - 1953, 1998, reproduced page 704, catalogue #401.30

David Brown Milne met Kathleen Pavey (known as “Wyb”) in the summer of 1938. The two fell in love and Milne began a relationship with her that lasted until the end of his life. This meeting was pivotal to his art because, after meeting Pavey, Milne decided to settle in Toronto with her. They spent the period from July 1939 to August 1940 living in the city. This move meant that Milne’s work shifted radically both in subject matter and style. Most of his work in Toronto was in watercolour, of which Coffee and Dessert is an excellent example. Milne used watercolour throughout his career, and he produced some of his most advanced work in this medium.

Coffee and Dessert, painted in the couple’s Toronto apartment, shows a richly varied dessert table with quickly painted cups, dessert plates and a coffee pot resting on a tabletop in front of a sofa. It is a complex still life set within a living room. Milne’s decision to paint the table setting only in outline allows the viewer to clearly read the items on the table. The other parts of the room are broadly and dramatically painted. The wall behind the table and couch is quickly executed in a mixture of yellow and purple. This neutral, non-descriptive colour allowed Milne to more precisely delineate other aspects of the room—the curtained window, the radiator and the door at the right. Milne’s genius is evident when one realizes that the image was executed with both remarkable focus and exceptional speed.

For the biography on Torben V. Kristiansen in PDF format, please click here.

Estimate: $25,000 - $35,000 CAD

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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