Canadian Fine Art
November 13 — 18, 2021
Auction begins to close at 7:00 pm ET
Marlborough-Godard Gallery, Calgary, AB;
Mira Godard Gallery, Toronto, ON;
Consignor Canadian Fine Art, Toronto, ON 29 May 2014, Lot 3;
Private Collection, Toronto, ON
One of eight “Summer Foothills” paintings produced in 1979, Tanabe revisited and reworked the subject often between 1977 and 1983. In addition to the acrylic paintings, the series also includes watercolours and a small number of drawings.
During this period, the artist and his wife Anona were based in Banff, Alberta—where Tanabe lived from 1973-1980. The two would make weekend excursions on the backroads of Alberta in search of the views Tanabe would capture with his camera and then use as a basis for his paintings.
“Summer Foothills” employs Tanabe’s ‘one-shot’ technique, in which the artist would apply pigment with a single, rapid application—once for the sky and once for the land. In this they harken to Japanese ink paintings, which leave no room for revision. By the end of Tanabe’s stay in Banff, he began shifting his practice away from one-shot paintings, though this particular work is a late example of the type.
While Tanabe is famous for not commenting on specific works, in an interview with Nancy Tousley given in August of 1979, he explained:
"I don't feel the tug to paint a view that somebody can recognize as being seen from their front porch or from some crossroads…mostly it's an idea about space that I have and that I've had for many years, especially about the flat prairie. So for me it's really a sense of the place, but really a generalized sense of space. What I think about the prairie is perhaps romantic but it is an enormously simple-looking space and within all that simplicity it's very, very rich, very subtle. I think those are the things I have been trying to get in the paintings. It's surprising how many bumps, hollows and changes of colour there are."
We would like to thank Anona Thorne for her contributions to this essay.
Nancy Tousley, Takao Tanabe: The Prairie Paintings, Takao Tanabe, ed. Ian Thom. (Vancouver Art Gallery and Douglas & McIntyre: Vancouver, 2005), 88.
Very good condition.
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