December 05 — 10, 2020
Auction begins to close at 2:00 pm ET
JACK REPPEN, O.S.A.
Mazelow Gallery, Toronto
Private Collection, Toronto
Jack Reppen began his career not as a painter but as a sports cartoonist, drawing athlete caricatures and illustrations for the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star from his early teens. Large and athletic, he had aspirations to be a hockey player and trained as a traffic light repairman (he would end up painting white lines on roadways), before turning to full-time commercial painting in the 1950s. His abstracted, mixed-media paintings were almost entirely produced in his off-hours after work, and were inspired by locales and themes that would interest him. Most of all he was interested in the play of surface texture: paint is worked in heavy ridges and thick impasto, with embedded material producing a rough, sedimentary feel.
This work was painted during a formative time for Reppen’s painting: his first solo show at Gallery Moos opened in Toronto in 1959 - the first Canadian artist to show at the gallery - and anticipates a productive period following a visit to Mexico two years later. Reppen’s death in 1964 from cancer would bring a sudden end to his influential and important contributions to the Canadian abstract landscape.