LOT 003

1909 - 1976

Palazzo Pixie Pitti Della Emma
oil on board
signed and on verso titled and inscribed "N.F.S." / "W. Vancouver, Canada" / "BC" on the exhibition label
14 x 9 3/8 in 35.6 x 23.8 cm

Estimate: $15,000 - $25,000

Preview at: Heffel Vancouver

Collection of the Artist
Acquired as a gift from Bert and Jessie Binning to Robert and Phyllis de Lotbinière Harwood, Vancouver
By descent to the present Private Collection, Seattle, 1970

Abraham J. Rogatnick et al., editors, B.C. Binning, 2006, essay by Ian M. Thom, page 140

Canadian Society of Graphic Art, Annual Exhibition

B.C. Binning’s paintings are a product of his personal interests and his immediate environments. He found inspiration in architecture, travel and even unexpected encounters. Of particular note is one such chance meeting between Bert and Jessie Binning and the Harwoods, the ensuing owners of this picture. Below is a family account passed down that describes the context behind the whimsical and slightly unusual title of our Palazzo Pixie Pitti Della Emma:

My mom and her mother, Phyllis de Lotbinière Harwood, were in Italy and ran into the Binnings. While there, Mom was in a kerfuffle because she had accepted my dad’s fraternity pin right before they left for Europe, but she had misplaced it! The painting was referred to, by the Binnings and by my parents, as “Pixie’s Dilemma.” It was only when I looked at the back of the painting that I realized that was not the official name of the painting.

In an essay on Binning’s paintings by Ian Thom, the scholar indicates how Binning’s great love of architecture revealed itself in several ways. One way was through certain works executed in the 1950s that “recall the work of Renaissance artists, are secular altarpieces and reveal Binning’s great sense of design, his appreciation for three-dimensional space and often, his sense of humour and delight.” In a corresponding note, Thom mentions Binning’s fascination with Sienese paintings, whose elaborate frames and small painted surfaces made them as much decorative objects as they were paintings.

In looking at Palazzo Pixie Pitti Della Emma from this perspective, we start to appreciate the parallels. Just like Italian Renaissance iconography, the frame constructed by Binning was a tribute to these icons, housing his modern interpretation of the famous Palazzo Pitti. To further extrapolate, some of the most famous paintings of the Renaissance are housed within the walls of the Palazzo Pitti. These layered associations combined with such a charming provenance provide the perfect stage for a remarkable time capsule of the Binnings’ mid-century travels to Italy.

This work is in the original frame made by Binning.

Estimate: $15,000 - $25,000

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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