Canadian Fine Art

May 29June 03, 2021
Auction begins to close at 8:00 pm ET

Online Auction
LOT 13

Lot 13


Lot 13 Details


mixed media
signed and dated; titled on the reverse
7.9 ins x 7.1 ins; 20 cms x 18 cms

Estimate $12,000-$16,000

Realised: $12,000
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images
  • WILLIAM KURELEK (1927-1977)
  • WILLIAM KURELEK (1927-1977)
  • WILLIAM KURELEK (1927-1977)

Private Collection, British Columbia


Kurelek continues to amaze with the breadth of his subject matter. No incident too small, here the painter turns his wry gaze to the aftermath of a child’s mishap. Lye is traditionally made by steeping wood ashes in water, a process which forms a caustic solution ideal for use in soap or cleaning products. Chemical burns can occur when lye meets unprotected skin, which appears to be what our unfortunate toddler has done to himself, evidenced by the open container and cupboard door ajar. Eric Andrew-Gee, writing in The Globe and Mail, describes Kurelek’s work as having a “stubborn humanity,” and while some of his scenes portray less-than-rosy subjects, they are typically rendered with a wink, a degree of hope and a sunny palette. Less cautionary tale and more family album, one wonders if Sitting on Lye is a self-portrait of sorts, or the opener of a bemused “remember that time when…” sort of story.


The work is in good condition, with minor condition issues. Please contact us for a detailed condition report.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and mandated government restrictions, Waddington’s regrets that we are unable to make lots from this auction available for pre-auction, in-person inspection. This condition report has been prepared by Waddington’s as a courtesy and has been provided for guidance only. The Lot is offered in the condition it is in at the time of sale. Any reference to condition in the report for the Lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the Lot form part of the condition report for the Lot provided by Waddington’s. Please note, certain images of the Lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the Lot and may represent colours and shades which are different to the Lot’s actual colour and shades. Waddington’s specialists are not professional conservators or restorers and the report set forth is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Waddington’s. Prospective buyers should bear in mind that this report will not disclose any imperfections which may only be revealed during the course of subsequent restoration. Buyers are reminded that Waddington’s warranties with respect to any property are limited as set forth in the Conditions of Sale and do not extend to condition.

LOT 13

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.