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LOT 033

1926 -

Sunset 7/87
acrylic on canvas
signed and dated 1987 and on verso signed, titled, dated on the gallery labels and inscribed "Between Bowen & Pt. Grey"
44 x 96 in 111.8 x 243.8 cm

Estimate: $80,000 - $120,000

Sold for: $133,250

Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave

Mira Godard Gallery, Toronto
Equinox Gallery, Vancouver
Acquired from the above by the present Private Collection, Vancouver, 2006

Takao Tanabe grew up in Prince Rupert, on British Columbia’s northern coast, the son of a commercial fisherman. Initially, his quest for knowledge took him in 1951 to New York, where he took drawing classes from Hans Hofmann while studying at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. In 1960, he traveled to Japan, studying with the calligrapher Yanagida Taiun and practising sumi-e painting with Ikuo Hirayama. For many years, he worked abstractly. But ultimately he returned to the landscape, informed by these earlier stages of his work.

In 1980, Tanabe gave up teaching in Banff, Alberta, and returned to British Columbia, where he built a studio in Errington, on Vancouver Island. Initially inspired by the views from the ferry going between the Island and the mainland, he began to paint evocative panoramas of land emerging in and out of mists, with moody skies and seas whose surfaces pulsed with currents.

Sunset 7/87 depicts a sunset panorama with a glow of orange and pink along the horizon, rising up into a delicate progression of pale tones in the sky. A dark strip of cloud punctuates the painting on the right, while in the upper sky, wispy white clouds provide a counterpoint. Tanabe’s past as an abstract artist figures in his simplification of the landscape - it is stripped of non-essential details into long horizontals of water, sky and land. Tanabe’s handling of colour and light is transcendent. Like a navigator, the artist records the location as the view from Bowen Island to Vancouver’s Point Grey - it is a specific place, but the location could be anywhere on the coast, as there is an absence of human activity and habitation. It is just as much a landscape of the mind.

Tanabe is part of a distinguished group of West Coast modernists that includes B.C. Binning, Gordon Smith, E.J. Hughes and Jack Shadbolt, who have made their mark on us through their unique vision. Tanabe’s Zen-like panoramas make us aware of the uplifting spiritual essence of the extraordinary landscapes that surround us.

Estimate: $80,000 - $120,000

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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