Canadian Fine Art

November 1318, 2021
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LOT 73

Lot 73


Lot 73 Details


signed and dated '53
sight 14.5 ins x 20.25 ins; 36.8 cms x 51.4 cms

Estimate $3,000-$5,000

Realised: $5,340
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

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Private Collection, Ontario


Kazuo Nakamura produced landscape watercolours throughout the 1950s, a parallel activity to his abstract paintings and sculptural work. His watercolours, however, were never studies for paintings. In contrast to his paintings, meticulously worked with various techniques, Nakamura’s watercolours were immediate, although meant to achieve “essential” compositions and working towards a common aim in examining patterns in nature.

The earliest watercolours such as “Autumn Landscape”, 1949 (Art Gallery of Ontario) were pictorial—trees, cultivated fields and barn buildings. By the early 1950s, the work became more generalized and stylized. “Untitled”, 1953 is as much a study in form and flow as it is landscape. The brushstrokes do not differentiate between the composition elements, they are an elegant solution. This is also evident in the unnaturalistic, controlled palette of blues and greens (with some yellow). The tree foliage and trunks are more blue than green, and some cloud passages are likewise green; these were the dominant colours for most of Nakamura’s abstract paintings. By the late 1950s, the watercolours became horizon-oriented, and anecdotal elements subsumed in bold flowing passages, as seen in this 1953 work.

Nakamura’s watercolours received as much critical attention as his paintings in the 1950s; a 1956 solo exhibition at Douglas Duncan’s Picture Loan Society gallery, Toronto, and a touring exhibition through the Western Canada Art Circuit in 1955-56.[1] Nakamura would continue painting watercolours into the 1960s, such as “Landscape ’67” (AGO). In a later conversation he noted, “every once in a while, I do landscapes, to do what’s on top.”[2] But what is “on top” for Nakamura was never the self-evident.

Ihor Holubizky is a cultural essayist and art historian, as well as the co-curator of the 2001 Nakamura retrospective at the The Robert McLaughlin Gallery. He received his PhD in art history from the University of Queensland. We thank him for contributing this essay.

[1] There are no existing records for this exhibition but there are period reviews from Regina and Saskatoon.
[2] Kazuo Nakamura, The Method of Nature (The Robert McLaughlin Gallery: Oshawa, 2001) p.14


Very good condition.

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LOT 73

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.