PETER CLAPHAM SHEPPARD, O.S.A., R.C.A.
A NORTHERN LAKE, C. 1936-37
oil on canvas
signed; with the estate stamp on the reverse
34 ins x 38 ins; 86.4 cms x 96.5 cms
While unknown to the majority of Canadians, Louis Gagliardi, an expert on the artist, notes that Peter Clapham Sheppard’s works “offer us a fresh and dynamic alternative to the Group [of Seven].” Indeed, Sheppard and others have been left too long in the shade of the Seven, though audiences and the art market have begun to see the light. Sheppard’s Elizabeth Street, Toronto shattered auction estimates in 2018 at Waddington’s, and we look forward to watching this important Canadian painter’s legacy continue to grow.
Primarily a figurative artist, Sheppard used the landscape as, in the words of art historian Tom Smart, “a visual touchstone that supported an impulse to explore the purely expressive properties of colour.” Northern Lake is one of three Sheppard paintings included in this auction, and is a modernist take on the now-familiar Canadian landscape. At first glance, the painting almost resembles a delicate stained-glass panel, all shimmering segments fitted together in harmony. Upon closer examination, the work dissolves into wonderfully animated brushstrokes. Sheppard’s signature understanding of light and colour can be seen in the lilac flashes in the sky and the atmospheric purples and blues tucked in amongst the trees on the shore.
This work is particularly special due to it being accompanied by a watercolour study by the artist.
Estate of the Artist
Private Collection, Toronto