Canadian Fine Art Auction

November 20, 2017

LOT 69

Lot 69


Lot 69 Details


oil on board
signed and dated 1936; inscribed “On Dorch St., Montreal” on the reverse
17.5 ins x 18 ins; 44.5 cms x 45.7 cms

Estimate $10,000-$15,000

Realised: $11,400
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images

Private Collection, Quebec


Sam Borenstein (1908-1969) was born in Lithuania and arrived in Montreal with his father and sister to join the rest of their family in 1921. He was encouraged to learn a trade, and by the early 1930s was working as a cutter in a Montreal textile factory. Borenstein, who began painting in 1930, was largely self-taught and inspired by the artists he befriended in local cafés, particularly the Russian painter, Alexander Bercovitch. He admired the European Expressionist painters (van Gogh, Soutine, Vlaminck), and was called the “Canadian Expressionist” based on his work from the later 1940s.

In its subject matter (an urban scene) and free brushwork (the utility poles lean at precarious angles), this early painting anticipates Borenstein’s later work, whereas the artist later painted using bright colours in thick impasto with gestural brushwork, here he has applied muted tones in thin layers that allow the support (board) to show through. The view is southwest down Dorchester Boulevard in Montreal (now Boulevard René Lévesque) from around Avenue du Parc, just before a bend in the road. In the distance rises the Sun Life Building, the tallest edifice in Montreal when it was completed in 1931 until the 1960s.


For condition information please contact the specialist.

LOT 69

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.