Canadian Fine Art
May 29 — June 03, 2021
Auction begins to close at 8:00 pm ET
JOSEPH DRAPELL, R.C.A.
Private Collection, Toronto, ON
A Joseph Drapell painting is immediately recognizable, with its signature striations layered over vibrant colours. Drapell’s innovative techniques and aesthetic, including the invention of a moveable, broad paint-spreading rake to create his “compression technique,” helped bring his work international attention in the 1970s and 80s. His work is characterized by high-keyed, glossy colour and built-up surfaces.
The purple and blue pearlescent acrylic gracefully swoops over a sunset-hued background in Limelight (lot 25), giving the work depth and an unparalleled vibrancy. It was exhibited in New York in 2000 in the seminal exhibition of the New New Painters. A term coined by members Graham Peacock and John Gittens in the early 1990s, the New New Painters raised money to rent the historical Armory, the site of the famous Armory Show of 1913, for their exhibition. Their goal was the ”wholehearted commitment to the art of painting and its capacity to communicate deep and powerful personal feelings through form and colour.” It was intended to counter the dominance of conceptualism, instead hoping to bring the focus back to the physicality of art and the feelings that colour can convey.
Their practice was driven by new developments in paint technology - non-yellowing acrylic gels, metallics, hologram paint, and pearlescents. These materials can be layered differently, in a way that is not possible with oils. Drapell and his colleagues were steadfast in their commitment to contribute to the canon of art history and question larger issues of humankind rather than conforming to trends of pure abstraction.
The inspiration for Cyprus Avenue (lot 24), the artist tells us, was Van Morrison’s hit song of the same name. The song combines a synergy of folk-blues, jazz, and classical music, layered under the singer’s crooning about memories of growing up in Belfast. When we look to Drapell’s painting, we see that the artist has aptly layered together a confluence of vibrant colours united by a subtle grey iridescence overlay that mirrors the lyrical quality of Van Morrison’s song.
The work is in excellent condition with no visible issues to report.
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