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LOT 135

Cornelius David Krieghoff
1815 - 1872

Habitants Crossing the Ice
oil on canvas
signed and on verso titled on various gallery labels and dated circa 1856 on the Masters gallery label
12 x 18 in 30.5 x 45.7 cm

Estimate: $60,000 - $80,000

Sold for: $91,250

Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave

G. Blair Laing Limited, Toronto
Ken Thomson, Toronto
Loch Gallery, Winnipeg
Masters Gallery Ltd., Calgary
Private Collection

Conal Shields, editor, Ken Thomson the Collector: The Thomson Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Gallery of Ontario, 2008, page 27

This fine painting was once owned by passionate collector Ken Thomson, who built a superb collection of Cornelius Krieghoff’s works, many of which are in the Thomson Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Conal Shields wrote, “I do not doubt that Ken’s notion of the Canadian countryside as a place to be loved was always coloured by Krieghoff’s tableaux. He knew, of course, that Krieghoff was German-born, Dutch-trained and had spent much of his career in Europe and the United States. But the very want of European pictorial rhetoric in his pictures, their patent guilelessness, seemed to guarantee the integrity of what Ken came to regard as near-reportage.”
In this classic subject of habitants traversing a winter path in a wood-sleigh, Krieghoff’s handling of the partially transparent ice chunks thrown up from the St. Lawrence River at each side of the ice bridge path is superb. His fine sense of detailing is evident throughout, from the fur on one of the men’s coats to their bright sashes. The slender tree seen on the right would have been cut and placed in the fall as a marker for the path. Krieghoff’s knowledge of winter effects shows in his inclusion of atmospheric fog at the base of the mountains and the vaporous breath streaming from the horse and driver in the cold air. The contrast between the pink and mauve-infused clouds, the glowing blue mountains and the delicate pale green of the ice chunks is quite exquisite. Krieghoff shows his appreciation of habitant character, capturing the jaunty animation of the travelers as they enjoy the crispness of the winter atmosphere and the inspiring panorama.

Estimate: $60,000 - $80,000

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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