1920 - 2013
Horses in Pasture
woodcut on paper
signed and dated 1947 on the mat and on verso titled and inscribed "woodcut - only print" and "825"
5 x 7 in 12.7 x 17.8 cm
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Preview at: Heffel Vancouver
Private Collection, Nova Scotia
Alex Colville became expert in a range of art print techniques through his long career. His serigraphs (silkscreens) and woodcuts display the same qualities of observation, stillness and import as his paintings and are central to his reputation. Prints have the double virtue of being accessible to a wider audience and, especially in the case of this woodcut, using a restricted and thus highly focused palette. Horses in Pasture was inspired by the earlier painting Horses in Field (1946). But like his serigraphs, the woodcut is a unique composition. Through line, tone and restricted colour, it focuses our attention on the two horses and makes their presence more dramatic than in the 1946 painting.
Without suggesting a linear progression from Colville’s earlier paintings of horses, the woodcut suggests his growing separation from his work as an official war artist during World War II and related work on his return to Canada. Colville had witnessed horrors in Europe, including seeing and depicting corpses at Belsen concentration camp in April 1945. He completed large-scale works about the war at home in 1946. The pastoral – even innocent – Horses in Field was also painted in 1946, but by an artist now seeking quiet and stability as he moved into a teaching position at Mount Allison University, in Sackville, NB. The woodcut Horses in Pasture, by contrast, takes what we read as the relationship between these animals as its sole focus, removing them from their bucolic setting. Resemblances aside, its maturity allies it with Dog and Horse of 1953 more than with Colville’s earlier painting.
We thank Mark A. Cheetham, Professor of Art History at the University of Toronto and author of Alex Colville: The Observer Observed, for contributing the above essay.
This work is in the original frame made by Colville. The full sheet size measures 5 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches.
As noted on verso, this is the only print made of this image. The original woodblock for this work is located in the National Gallery of Canada Archives.
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
All prices are in Canadian Dollars
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