Canadian Fine Art Auction

May 29, 2017

LOT 54

Lot 54


Lot 54 Details

UNTITLED, C. 1960-1961

oil on canvas, mounted to board
with the stamped signature from the estate on the reverse
25 ins x 23.25 ins; 63.5 cms x 59.1 cms

Estimate $45,000-$60,000

Realised: $43,200
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images

Estate of the artist


Marcelle Ferron (1924-2001) was a member of the Automatistes, and one of seven women who signed Paul-Émile Borduas’ Refus Global in 1948. Borduas had become her mentor after Ferron left the École des beaux-arts in Québec City, disagreeing with the institution’s attitude to modern art. She moved to Montréal and became a supporter of the automatiste movement, its art and politics, in the 1940s. Colour and light are two distinguishing features of Ferron’s painting; and it was natural that she would be drawn to the art of stained glass during her career.

Like many Québécois artists of the period, Ferron spent many productive years in Paris (1953-1966). She became an artist of note, exhibiting in Paris and throughout Europe. Almost immediately upon arrival in Paris, her technique changed considerably. In contrast to the somber palette she had used previously, Ferron began using vivid colours and white, applying the paint in thick multi-directional swaths. One reason for this sudden change was her acquisition of colour pigments from a generous patron, which she ground herself using poppy oil (a light-coloured medium well-suited to whites). It was important to Ferron that the brilliancy of the whites be maintained; if any white area of a work in her possession became dirty or yellowed with time, she would simply apply a fresh coat of paint.

This untitled work is a good example of her technique from the beginning of the 1960s. Ferron would begin by first establishing the composition by applying the paint with large palette knives using broad, free strokes. The artist allowed layers of paint to build up, or blend together, after which she would refine the formal elements of the piece with brushes or smaller knives to create a satisfying aesthetic result. Movement is created by the interplay of colours and light: white areas surround and penetrate the bands of colour, permeating the painting with light. Ferron considered that her most accomplished paintings were those she had made in Europe.


For condition information please contact the specialist.

LOT 54

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.