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LOT 003

1913 - 2007

Trees on Gabriola Island
graphite on card
signed and dated 1950 and on verso titled and inscribed "2B" and "F"
19 3/4 x 14 7/8 in 50.2 x 37.8 cm

Estimate: $15,000 - $25,000

Sold for: $34,146

Preview at: Heffel Vancouver

Dominion Gallery, Montreal
Acquired from the above by a Private Collection, Montreal, November 23, 1973
By descent to the present Private Estate, Montreal

Trees on Gabriola Island is the cartoon drawing for E.J. Hughes’s striking 1951 oil on canvas of the same title, sold by Heffel in May 2016, notable for its dramatic contrast between dark evergreens and pale driftwood and tree trunks edged with light. Funded by an Emily Carr scholarship, Hughes traveled from his home on Vancouver Island to Gabriola Island in 1948, and made a number of sketches there that he would draw on for paintings over the next several years. This densely worked graphite cartoon, done in his studio, was used to work out tonal values and composition for the painting. Hughes’s cartoons were labour intensive and finished works in themselves, and they are rare, as Hughes’s dealer, Dr. Max Stern of Montreal’s Dominion Gallery, wanted him to turn his energies from working on these drawings to painting watercolours. The inclusion of the figure with the painting box, likely Hughes himself, is also rare. In the 1940s to early 1950s, Hughes was influenced by primitive painters such as the French artist Henri Rousseau. This influence can be seen in the spiky, stylized forms of the evergreens in both painting and cartoon, and the dark, brooding colouration of the canvas. Trees on Gabriola Island is an exquisite example of Hughes’s technical skill and fine attention to detail, which created a heightened sense of the landscape even without the use of colour.

Estimate: $15,000 - $25,000

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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