AOCA CGP OSA
1931 - 1999
oil on canvas
on verso signed, titled, dated Dec 1980 and inscribed "For Rafael Alberti"
84 x 72 in, 213.4 x 182.9 cm
Estimate: $40,000 - $60,000 CAD
Sold for: $43,250
Isaacs Gallery Ltd., Toronto
Private Collection, Toronto
Coughtry helped define the look of Toronto’s painting scene in the 1970s, being a crucial figure of the Spadina Avenue artists and a staple at Av Isaac’s influential gallery. Perhaps equally important was Coughtry’s interest in jazz: in the 1960s through 80s he played trombone as part of the Artists’ Jazz Band, an influential free-jazz group that included Robert Markle, Gordon Raynor, Nobuo Kubota, as well as (occasionally) Michael Snow, Richard Gorman and Dennis Burton among others. Self-taught and expressionistic, they played primarily private shows in studios, galleries, and apartments. This musicality is evidently expressed in Coughtry’s broad canvases of twisting bodies and energetic colour, entwined together in expressive, vibrant movement.
Rojo is dedicated to the Spanish poet Rafael Alberti, part of the Generation of ‘27 group of dissident poets active during and following the Spanish civil war. Among Alberti’s writings was A la pintura, a volume inspired by artists and paintings which included dedications to the various colours (an edition of some of those poems illuminated by lithographs by Robert Motherwell was printed in 1971). Here, Coughtry presents his own interpretation or homage to Alberti’s celebration of colour and the act of painting. Curiously, the titled colour is not given the most prominence as the field is dominated by teals, blues, and greens – compliments to red on the colour wheel – with fiery reds used in highlighted slashes, energizing the contorted, dancer-like figure.
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