Home Contact | Advertising Subscribe Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia
Search Listings
Alberta British Columbia Oregon Washington
Exhibition Previews
Calendar
Gallery Websites
Conservation Corner

SEARCH EDITORIAL
To find gallery listings use search at page top right.


CURRENT COLUMN

The Case of Dubious Due Diligence

The Case of Dubious Due Diligence

The Case of the Olympic Posters
The Case of the Olympic Posters

The Case of the Solitary Surrealist
The Case of the Solitary Surrealist

The Case of the Recalcitrant Rembrandt
The Case of the Recalcitrant Rembrandt

The Case of the Ambiguity of Authenticity
The Case of the Ambiguity of Authenticity

The Case of Margaret Keane’s Big-Eyed Boys
The Case of Margaret Keane’s Big-Eyed Boys

The Case of Clarence’s Château-Gaillard
The Case of Clarence’s Château-Gaillard

The Case of the M.S. Nov 1910
The Case of the M.S. Nov 1910

The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2
The Case of the Archangel Michael Defeating Satan

The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2
The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2

The Case of Mary Most Holy Mother of Light
The Case of Mary Most Holy Mother of Light

The Case of Leni and the Nuba
The Case of Leni and the Nuba

The Case of the Seductive Souvenir
The Case of the Seductive Souvenir

The Case of the Irish Surrealist
The Case of the Irish Surrealist

The Case of the Developing Dalí
The Case of the Developing Dalí

The Case of Nano-D Technology
The Case of Nano-D Technology

The Case of Dabatable Donations
The Case of Debatable Donations

Edgar Heap of Birds
The Case of the Long-tailed Monkey

Edgar Heap of Birds
The Case of Edgar Heap of Birds

Silent Song
The Case of the Silent Song

Aficionado
The Case of Alex and the Art Aficionado

Portrait
The Case of the Privacy of the Publicity Photo

Potter
The Case of the Potter's Portraits

The Case of the Coy Cornelius Krieghoff

The Case of the Political Portraitist

The Case of the Reconsidered Revolution

The Case of the Anabiotic Abbey

The Case of the Phoney Picasso

The Case of Setsuko Piroche

The Case of being on the Forest Edge with Vern Simpson

The Case of Being at the End of the Storm with Loren Adams

The Case of Being: Under the Table with Thomas

The Case of Wyland's Whales on Walls

The Case of A.Y. Jackson's Smart River (Alaska)

The Case of Red Fish with Blue Breasts

The Case of Looe Poole

The Case of Camaldoli

The Case of MS

The Case of the Misattributed Emily Carrs

The Case of the Doubtful Dürer

The Case of the Purloined Picasso

The Case of the Defrocked Duchess of Devonshire

The Case of the First Wife

The Case of the Dodford Priory

The Case of the Unknown Actor

Art Services & Materials


Confessions Back

Practical Art History
(or Confessions of a Fine Art Appraiser)

by Jim Finlay
Finlay Fine Art Wealth Management
jim_finlay@telus.net

Chapter 25. The Case of Alex and the Art Aficionado

The Skater

Alex Colville, Skater, acrylic polymer emulsion, 44.5 x 27.5 inches, Collection: Museum of Modern Art, New York

Several years ago I purchased a painting of a realistically depicted female skater with one skate raised almost parallel to the ice and with her arms behind her back close to her body. The other skate was firmly placed on the ice as she seemed to be skating away from the viewer with her head and upper body partially obscured by her almost-horizontal torso. I surmised that the piece was probably a copy although its composition, viewpoint, perspective and visual proportional relationships, suggest a planned and carefully thought-out image.

It was not until I recently obtained a copy of Helen J. Dow’s seminal book, The Art of Alex Colville, that I discovered an image of a preliminary sketch entitled Skater, which was very similar to that of the painting I had bought. No, I had not purchased an original painting by Colville – I was aware of noticeable differences between the copy by an unknown artist and the original piece. I no longer own the piece. Colville painted Skater (44.5 x 27.5 inches) in 1964 using acrylic polymer emulsion. According to Helen Dow in her article The Magic Realism of Alex Colville, the image is based on “Le Corbusier’s Modular (a system of proportional measurement based on a human being with a raised arm) of a square placed in a harmonic position between two contiguous squares, the entire panel forms a golden section rectangle…”

It is interesting to note that Dow goes on to say that “… so that all is grace, serenity and composure. This is the picture of a human being who has come to grips with reality”. And further: “Courage itself is the power to overcome fear, in this case the fear of participation with environment: as the painter (Colville) has said, 'The Skater is not frightened'.”On the inside cover of the book there is a handwritten inscription which reads, “To. Frances as a memento of mutual love. From. Murray. Christmas 1972”. The book also contains a hand-written
letter signed and dated by Colville on January 23, 1981, together with an envelope addressed to Dr. Murray Wanamaker, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Dr. Wanamaker taught English at the University of Winnipeg from 1966 to 1986 before retiring to British Columbia where he died at age 90 on August 24, 2010. As a fellow Nova Scotian, he had been a friend and admirer of Colville and it seems eerily coincidental that he and Colville share the date of August 24; the date that Dr. Wanamaker died and the date of Colville’s birthday.

The inclusion of mathematical constructs such as the golden section hints at the cyclical inevitability of death and resurrection being the elegant and magnificent order of the universe. Such is the order and coincidence of life. There is a certain magical irony in such coincidences, which I am grateful to have been part of.

Next: The Case of the Silent Song

 Mon, Apr 4, 2011