Canadian Art

March 27April 01, 2021
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Online Auction
LOT 22

Lot 22


Lot 22 Details


ink and watercolour on paper
signed, titled "#3," dated "Jan 19/77" and inscribed "Did Gaucher know that he was painting the rasta colours?"
24.0" x 18.0" (61.0 cm x 45.7 cm)

Estimate $1,500-$2,500

Realised: $3,000
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images

The Isaacs Gallery Ltd., Toronto
Michael Gibson Gallery, London, ON
Private Collection, Toronto


'Greg Curnoe: A Proposed Referendum Question and Five Series', solo exhibition, February 18 – March 10, 1978, Isaacs Gallery, Toronto
'Greg Curnoe Drawings', 1977, Forest City Gallery, London, ON


Self Portrait #3 is from a series of seven self-portraits that Greg Curnoe made in early 1977. The straight-on portraits from this series are direct and unflinching, featuring the colours from the Ethiopian flag: red, gold and green. What is Curnoe trying to tell the viewer about himself, his
country, and his love of music in these portraits? The unassuming line drawing is layered with multiple meanings. 

“Did Gaucher know that he was painting the rasta colours?” is written in a speech bubble, an ode to his love of comic books growing up. Gaucher—most likely a reference to Canadian abstract artist, Yves Gaucher, who painted in the distinct tri-colours of the Ethiopian flag— is at first misspelled and crossed out. The self-portrait, evidence of editing, and nod to Gaucher creates a significant meta-referential work, one that embodies Curnoe’s practice and textual fascination with Canadian culture, as well as his love of reggae music. 

The artwork is framed in an original plexiglass frame that Curnoe repurposed, the plexi frame became his signature way of framing key works on paper.

We thank Tatum Dooley for contributing this essay. Tatum Dooley is a writer and curator who lives in Toronto. She has written for Artforum, Bordercrossings, Canadian Art, Garage Magazine, the Globe & Mail, Lapham’s Quarterly, and The Walrus. Dooley has curated shows at Dianna Witte Gallery, General Hardware, and the Drake Devonshire (upcoming). In 2018, she founded the Instagram account and newsletter Canadian Art Forecast.

Yves Gaucher's Green, Yellow/Red, 1ière Version


For condition information please contact the specialist.

LOT 22

About Condition Ratings

  • 5 Stars: Excellent - No discernable damage, flaws or imperfections
  • 4 Stars: Very Good - Minor flaws or imperfections visible only under close inspection using specialised instruments or black light
  • 3 Stars: Good - Minor flaws visible upon inspection under standard lighting
  • 2 Stars: Fair - Exhibits flaws or damage that may draw the eye under standard lighting
  • 1 Star: Poor - Flaws or damage immediately apparent under standard lighting (examples: missing components, rips, broken glass, damaged surfaces, etc.)

Note: Condition ratings and condition details are the subjective opinions of our specialists and should be used as a guide only. Waddington’s uses due care when preparing condition details, however, our staff are not professional restorers or conservators. Condition details and reports are not warranties and each lot is sold “as is” in accordance with the buyer’s terms and conditions of sale. In all cases the prospective purchaser is responsible for inspecting the property themselves prior to placing a bid.