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LOT 138

1888 - 1949

oil on canvas, circa 1931
signed and on verso titled on the exhibition labels
30 x 40 in 76.2 x 101.6 cm

Estimate: $60,000 - $80,000

Sold for: $61,250

Preview at: Heffel Montreal

Private Collection, Ontario

Ontario Society of Artists: Fifty-ninth Annual Exhibition, Art Gallery of Toronto, 1931, page 9, reproduced page 13
Canadian National Exhibition, Catalogue of the Arts, 1931, page 72

Art Gallery of Toronto, Ontario Society of Artists: Fifty-ninth Annual Exhibition, March 1931, catalogue #81
Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto, August 28 - September 12, 1931, catalogue #423

While art history tends to focus on the works Franz Johnston produced in the years he was most closely associated with his fellow Group of Seven members, examples from after that period, such as this one, can show his mastery as a painter. When viewed from this perspective, Timberline presents a compelling interplay between the traditional and the contemporary. The classical triangular composition and the theatrical lighting contrast with the rugged subject matter and the modernist, painterly impasto, as though Johnston’s influences lie equally in Caspar David Friedrich and Tom Thomson. This contrast complicates the work’s place within a strictly Canadian narrative of painting, and instead situates it within a larger, international context. Interestingly, this painting seems to harken back to some of the eras and styles many of Johnston’s peers sought to rebel against. While the Group of Seven sought new means and methods of expression, Johnston, in his early departure from the Group, sought greater licence to move between these diverging approaches, arriving at an ethos more in line with his personal artistic vision.

Estimate: $60,000 - $80,000

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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