WALTER JOSEPH PHILLIPS, R.C.A.
YORK BOAT ON LAKE WINNIPEG
woodcut, printed in colours
signed, titled and numbered 142/150 in pencil in the lower margin
11.5 ins x 15 ins; 29.2 cms x 38.1 cms
The title of Roger Boulet’s monograph The Tranquility and the Turbulence was drawn from W.J. Phillips’ (1884-1963) remark: ”Water is the most expressive element in nature. It responds to every mood from tranquility to turbulence,” and indeed many of the artist’s best known works include water as a kind of mood gauge.
Kate Rutherford observes that while so many of Phillips’ compositions could be viewed as objective - depicting things as they could be seen in real life - York Boat is an exception. According to Rutherford, the artist’s great grand-daughter, York Boat “portrays the frustration and energy of the boatmen fighting the winds, and the active, swirling water adds a sublime aspect to the piece.”
Nancy Green, Kate Rutherford and Toni Tomlinson, Walter J. Phillips, Pomegranate, Portland, Oregon, 2013, page 30 for York Boat on Lake Winnipeg, reproduced in colour.
Patricia Ainslie, Images of the Land: Canadian Block Prints 1919-1945, Glenbow Museum, Calgary, 1984, page 40, cat. no 137 for York Boat on Lake Winnipeg, reproduced in color.
Duncan Campbell Scott, Walter J. Phillips (Canadian Artists Series), The Ryerson Press, Toronto, n.d., page 41, for York Boat on Lake Winnipeg, reproduced.
Roger Boulet, The Tranquility and the Turbulence: The Life and Works of Walter J. Phillips, M.B. Loates, Markham, 1981, frontispiece, page 113 and page 133 for York Boat on Lake Winnipeg, reproduced in colour.
Private Collection, Vancouver
Department: Canadian Fine Art