1920 - 2013
Study for Berlin Bus
gouache and ink on paper
dated 21 Jan. 78, 22 Jan. 78, 4 Feb. 78 and 8 Feb. 78 and on verso titled, dated and inscribed "TOT 4899" and "C9925" on the gallery label
8 1/2 x 8 1/2 in, 21.6 x 21.6 cm
Estimate: $25,000 - $35,000
Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave
Woltjen/Udell Gallery, Edmonton
Collection of Peggy Marko, Edmonton
David Burnett, Colville, Art Gallery of Ontario, 1985, page 128, the 1978 painting Berlin Bus reproduced page 123
Andrew Hunter, editor, Colville, Art Gallery of Ontario, 2014, the 1978 painting entitled Berlin Bus reproduced page 107 and listed page 143
Art Gallery of Ontario, Colville, August 23, 2014 - January 4, 2015, traveling in 2015 to the National Gallery of Ontario, the 1978 painting entitled Berlin Bus
In 1971, Alex Colville spent time in Berlin for six months as Visiting Artist under the Berliner Kunstlerprogramm. Berlin is a fascinating place saturated with the past, with destruction and restoration. This intriguing drawing is one of a group in which Colville developed his concepts for the major 1978 painting Berlin Bus. David Burnett stated that the painting Berlin Bus is “to my mind one of the most compelling of Colville’s pictures.”
Colville was interested in Berlin’s double-decker buses and took a series of photographs of them from every angle and at various times of day. He developed this idea for the painting through a series of drawings from 1971 to 1978. Here he used geometric shapes to work out the dynamics of the composition and the taut relationship between the running girl and the bus. The drawing depicts the same posture for the running girl as the painting – and includes the key elements of the bus and the rudiments of a sign on the left, which, although undefined here, in the painting is a sign for a notary. In the painting, the girl wears a sleeveless top and a short, revealing pleated skirt, but here she appears almost naked, with only the suggestion of a translucent skirt, as though Colville is studying the structure of her body before he defines her clothes. As in the painting, the girl is running for the bus like a competitive sprinter, and poised in mid-stride, seems to levitate above the surface of the road, a compelling feature of the final painting which lends a dream-like quality to this extraordinary image.
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