1920 - 2013
Study for January
ink and pencil crayon on paper
signed and dated 15 Feb.74 and on verso titled on the exhibition label
4 x 4 in, 10.2 x 10.2 cm
Available for post auction sale.
Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave
Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton
Collection of Peggy Marko, Edmonton
David Burnett, Colville, Art Gallery of Ontario, 1983, the lithograph Labours of the Month: January reproduced page 8 and listed page 250
Ray Cronin, National Gallery of Canada magazine, January 1, 2021, https://www.gallery.ca/magazine/your-collection/alex-colvilles-labours-of-the-months-for-a-new-year, accessed June 24, 2021
The Edmonton Art Museum, Edmonton Collections: Docents' Choice, Edmonton, 1985
In 1979, Alex Colville produced a portfolio of 12 lithographs entitled A Book of Hours: Labours of the Months, based on small paintings from 1974 depicting scenes referring to each month of the year. Colville wrote in the accompanying artist statement that he wanted “to continue the medieval tradition of Books of Hours and Labours of the Months,” which were books of prayers and meditations, organized on various time cycles. Colville’s images for each month were ones meaningful to him personally, based on where he lived in Wolfville in the Annapolis Valley.
In Study for January, he works out the central element of the painting and print - a man pruning an apple tree. Precariously perched in the top of the tree, he is cutting away any dead or diseased branches with a saw to ensure new growth and a good harvest. Ray Cronin wrote that “January is fitting for a suite of images rooted in a form developed for a book of prayers. January depicts the work of ordering and tending that keeps chaos at bay. For Colville, this was a ritualistic, if not exactly religious, endeavour. Order, he felt, had to be tended – individually and collectively. A veteran of the Second World War, he knew that chaos was always lurking and, in January, he shares a meaningful image of one strategy to keep that danger at bay.”
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